What Next?

With Air Pirates in the hands of the betas, I'm thinking a lot about what to work on next. I've been putting off the decision by writing short stories. It's productive and educational and everything, but eventually I'm going to want to go back to a novel.

The question is which one? I've got two novels I can realistically go to at the moment: Joey Stone and Air Pirates 2 (working titles, both). Joey Stone would be cool, but I'm not sure the idea is ripe enough yet for me to start work on that. Or maybe it is, and I just need to get over it.

I'd rather work on AP2, but that means working on a sequel to an unpublished - possibly never-to-be-published - book. If Air Pirates fails, where will that leave the sequel and the work I put behind it? I've never written a sequel, so it would be good practice, but I'm not sure if I could write a novel knowing it would never be published.

Or maybe it could be published. Could I write AP2 in such a way that it could stand alone, apart from Air Pirates? Maybe. I mean, really, I should be writing it that way anyway because I would want new readers to be able to jump in at any point in the trilogy. But it would be a bigger risk.

But maybe the knowledge that AP might never sell is exactly the pressure I need to make AP2 capable of standing alone. I couldn't be lazy in my writing. I'd have to explain everything, but without exposition and infodumps (just like I (hopefully) did with the first one).

Hm, that's a good point, actually. I'm glad we had this talk.


Natalie Whipple said...

Having written a sequel to a book that may never be published (more like probably)...I have a few things to say.

First, you have to accept that the novel just might be "practice." It really might not ever be published. Even if you make it "stand alone." That can be okay. I really did learn a lot from the sequel I wrote.

Second, think about why you want to write the sequel. Is it because you don't want to leave the world yet? Are you comfortable with your characters and reluctant to get to know new ones? That was my reason. I was very attached, didn't think my next idea would be as good. (Except that it was, and I shouldn't have worried.)

Third, if you don't see success with Air Pirates, I can tell you right now having two books makes that disappointment hurt more. I spent more time with those characters...I'm that much more attached to them. And no one else cares.

Totally depressing comment, sorry, but just make sure you're prepared for the mental consequences. You can always make notes and write a sequel later...I have like 5 planned that I refuse to touch until something happens.

Adam Heine said...

Thanks, Natalie. It's a depressing line of thought, so I expect no less from the comments :-)

The sequel is because the story's not done. Air Pirates 1 is written such that it can stand alone (I think), but there are questions I want to answer, and whole characters that haven't even been introduced yet. So it's not a reluctance, it's a plan. That much, at least, I'm sure of.

And I can totally accept that it might never be published. But I'm not sure if I'll be able to persevere on something I know won't be published. But I guess we never know, do we?

Natalie Whipple said...

I personally think, for sequels, it's safer to think it will "never" be published than to think it might. It's just more realistic when you don't have an agent.

At least that's how I'm dealing with mine. As in, I'm not writing them until I have an agent.

Of course, Hagai is pretty cool, so it's not like I would be complaining if I got to read more.

Hepius said...

Don't write the sequel. Go with something new and different.

Best of luck.

Adam Heine said...

Thanks for the advice, Matt. Sigh. I'm so afraid you're right. Maybe Natalie's right and I do need to let go...

Well, I've still got some putting off to do. I'm going to write one more short story, and then probably have revisions to do on the first.