Sequels are hard

So, I mentioned before that I bought Scrivener (and I think I can spell it now), which is a nice writing tool. It has all sorts of folders and colours and such that make you feel like you’re being productive and creative without the need to actually fill up a page (as you need to do when you use Word).

That being said, I kind of like the fact that I’m at least trying to be organised with my next works. I want to have a place that I can throw any idea and work on it with a little more process than just simply barreling along and then spending 9 months in editing. Plus, Word has turned on this “Grammerly” function now which keeps on reminding me that my writing is like speech, even when it’s dialogue (or that I’m using a passive voice instead of an active one, even when that gets better results in emails… whatever).

Side note: it would be really good if that advanced grammar checking would let you know if something were appropriate to a different culture. Could stop a lot of tensions in multi-nationals…

scrivener
The Scrivener interface

I’m getting off track. Anyway, I wanted to have some kind of structure and thinking about a possible Zemlya 2. I wanted to keep the focus on the drama within the City; what happens to those that are still around at the end of the story? And what would they do? Would anyone care?

And that’s when I realised why a lot of sequels suck. When you work on something original, you’re usually not planning to make a sequel, so the story can have things just happen that don’t seem to matter. You give your characters the appropriate motivations to move them through the plot, and that’s it.

So, when you start to make a sequel, you need to find a plot that makes sense in the universe you’ve created, and at the same time re-motivate your characters without having any major discontinuations in their behavior. It’s not that easy.

Another problem with me that I’m starting to face is that I usually start a story with a single scene or image. For Zemlya 1 it was Kate standing in the snow after killing a bunch of dudes and the (deleted) fight scene in the Depoc building. For Hanako’s route it was her sitting on top of the roof of the school looking out over Sendai (also cut). So when I’m trying to come up with a lot of ideas at once I start to think it is futile- especially when I have the restrictions on characters and plot as per the above.

 

The upshot is that I’m spending about as much time playing with the features of Scrivener (and there are a lot of them) as I am in actually thinking about a plot.

 

Oh well, at least I have a lot of time to think about what we want to do for C92 in summer…

 

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