Conquels: What to do when you can’t do a sequel (yet)

Guild War's 2 Divinity's Reach
Guild War’s 2 Divinity’s Reach (In-game Screenshot)

I was a little disappointed to find conquel already in the Urban dictionary. Regardless, it’s the solution to my next project: something contemporary with my current SOTA project. I like the setting and if the current project does well, I hope to do a sequel with it. But there’s sensible advice out there not to start a sequel until you know Book 1 will do okay, since it is kind of hard to place Book 2 without its predecessor. And the SOTA setting is one where it is reasonable to have contemporary events that then can join together so… next project will (probably) be something that I can do stand-alone but whose sequel could also merge with my current project’s sequel.

As for a premise, I’m thinking of leveraging my post on Pavia, City of a Hundred Towers: maybe it’s a guy thing but I’ve always liked the imagery of spires, especially ones that are basically vertical palaces. And, I’ll confess I haven’t spent all of my spare time writing, I have also played Guild Wars 2 where I find the city, Divinity’s Reach, very striking. So, I was thinking of a setting on a huge, floating city with a thousand towers (hey, why stop at 100) and a premise where an Archon, repulsed at his own evil actions, scattered his memory across all these towers. The rest is still a bit fuzzy but next steps at this stage of the project are going to be to work with character flaw, inciting incident, turning points, black moment and resolution. None of which is very remarkable, except this will be the first time I’ve started with that rather than retrofitting it, so I have hopes this will all hang together better.

As for Guild Wars 2, it’s free to play after the client purchase and I have to say, is the best MMO I’ve played in years. It feels a lot like World of Warcraft, at the time it came out (not today when it feels horribly dated). Any given new element of Gw2 is evolutionary more than revolutionary but they added so many great evolutionary items that they have fundamentally improved game play, which, in sum, feels revolutionary to me. Plus it is just gorgeous to look at, and unlike any other MMO I’ve tried, has actually given me some great ideas for my own stories (idea seeds, not ideas to plagiarise 🙂 ). For those of you who game and haven’t tried it, it’s worth a look.

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5 thoughts on “Conquels: What to do when you can’t do a sequel (yet)

  1. Always good to have something prepared in the same world as our main story for when it goes viral and your legions of new fans demand more more more!

    (Joking, but you know, it could happen.) 😉

  2. Shush! You’ll jinx it 🙂

    Actually, silly as it is, I don’t like the idea of not having something else in the same vein in progress. If I were to get a contract on the current project, I’d have to get something going asap for a follow-on; this way I’m not over investing my time in the first one but have some I could position as related. Seems silly to worry about it but I think the reason why so many second novels aren’t very good is that the author was rushed to get that next book out.

    1. That’s a good point. Most successful authors I’ve read recently had their trilogy ready to go before they even sold the first book.

  3. I have a similar issue. I am revising my novel, but from its outset I put it in a setting large enough I could do all kinds of other things within that setting, but not necessarily tied to the story presented in my first novel. I’d RATHER continue straight on from book 1 to a book 2, and have a book 2 in plan, and a book 3 and 4 floating in haze beyond, even unto a final resolution for the entire saga as it stands. Knowing how everything is to end for these characters is a plus at the start! (Though I’m all for being side-tracked by events along the way – it happens!)

    I am with tmso – I have seen a number of fantasy authors release entire trilogies one after another in a way which indicates the whole thing was written in advance, which maintains the quality of the writing throughout. It does represent a leap of faith in writing it all first… but I find myself leaning towards that as a good idea – as it shows faith in your vision and story. Problem is the time/effort wasted if the reading public does not care for that same vision/story… So I have started writing something completely different for fun as a side project anyway.

    I do not need another game to eat my time… though GW2 looks cool.

    Conquel eh? Well now I know…

    1. I’m a big fan of the larger settings. And as a reader, I really enjoy a coherent trilogy planned and deployed as a whole but as a writer, I have to confess it scares me: all that work on something that may go no where. I suppose if you are committed to self-publishing, then you know the whole thing will launch but even so, that’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears to bet on one thing.

      Thanks for the thoughts!

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