The Scratching Post

Reflection of girls eyes on a champagne bucket in a luxurious room
Image generated by ChatGPT 4 w/DALL-E based upon passage from The Midas Protocol: Midas Files Book One

The Sequel Saga: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Writing Book Two

Sequel Writing: Deconstructing The Midas Protocol

As I revise my draft of "The Sirens of Chronos: Midas Files Book Two," I find myself reflecting on "The Midas Protocol: Midas Files Book One." Truth be told, I've forgotten many of the intricate details I weaved into the first story. While I had a general idea of where the second story is headed, it was high time I delved back into the nuances of the first book.

To accomplish this, I'm deconstructing "The Midas Protocol" to construct "The Sirens of Chronos" in a way that both continues the story and resolves any lingering questions from the previous installment. Revisiting the first book in painstaking detail appears to be the key to successfully completing the second book in the series. Interestingly, this step also reveals that writing the second book may require more effort than the first. After all, when writing the first book, I could freely explore and add elements along the way. Anything was possible, and I included things simply because I thought they fit.

In the second book, I no longer have the luxury of freestyle writing. Now, everything must be coherent with the first story and interconnected. Every element I introduce in the sequel must tie back to the first story and address the questions raised during the initial phase of that creative freedom.

As our hero, Hank, awakens from a ten-year coma, his memories of the past are hazy. Even as the author, my recollection of his experiences a decade ago is unclear. To ensure a seamless continuation of the story in the second book, I had to delve back into understanding what exactly happened to my main character in book one. It all centers around a pivotal moment involving a champagne bucket.

Towards the end of book one, Hank is unknowingly drugged and stumbles into a hotel room where Sitara, a captivating woman with enchanting green eyes, awaits to seduce him. Their gaze meets on the reflective surface of a champagne bucket, revealing her hidden guilt. It is at this very moment that Hank is ambushed, ultimately leading to his ten-year coma. To truly grasp the significance of this moment, I needed to revisit it with fresh perspective.

In Book Two, our Hero awakens ten years later. I can't help but imagine that the shared gaze in the champagne bucket haunted him in his dreams throughout the next decade. Surprisingly, I failed to capture that in my initial draft of Book Two. Now, I must find a way to incorporate it. This raises even more questions.

"DALL-E, Take One!" - The Midas Protocol, Chapter Thirty Two, "Bushwhacked", as imagined by DALL-E AI Generative art.

"DALL-E, Take Two!" - The Midas Protocol, Chapter Thirty Two, "Bushwhacked", as imagined by DALL-E AI Generative art.

Sequel Writing: Questions Beget Questions

What happens to Sitara after that scene? I introduced this question in Book One, and although I attempted to answer it in a scene in Book Two, revisiting this particular moment made me realize that I hadn't addressed it in a way that would connect to this deeply significant mutual gaze. Interestingly, she shared that same gaze with Hank. It's only fair to assume that she would be haunted by it as well, right?

It turns out that I introduced more questions and topics than I initially thought, all of which must now be incorporated into my second story. Some of these seemingly insignificant details now have profound implications for the second book, which cannot be overlooked.

For instance, in a scene right after Hank's ambush, my alien antagonist, Mortimer Vanterpool, encounters B'yob Oberon, the protector of our hero and another extraterrestrial entity. Upon revisiting this chapter, I was surprised to find that Oberon expresses significant insights about Vanterpool that need to be incorporated into the second draft.

"What brings you here, B'yob?" queries the malevolent alien. "Your attempts to enlighten the humans are in vain. They are vermin that should have been eradicated long ago."

"Your own brother cherished them," retorts B'yob.

Vanterpool responds, "That was his failing, not mine."

Goodness gracious, I completely overlooked the mention of Vanterpool's brother, even though I am the author of this tale. This conversation holds implications that should be addressed in the second book. Perhaps Vanterpool's brother will make an appearance. What role will he play? Will his affection for humans persist? Or maybe he met an unfortunate fate? This requires careful consideration.

"DALL-E, Take Three!" - The Midas Protocol, Chapter Thirty Two, "Bushwhacked", as imagined by DALL-E AI Generative art.

"DALL-E, Take Four!" - The Midas Protocol, Chapter Thirty Two, "Bushwhacked", as imagined by DALL-E AI Generative art.

Sequel Writing: Lessons Learned So Far

As a fiction writer, what advice can I offer from experience? There are two key lessons. Firstly, when writing your first book, it's alright to let your creativity flow freely and embrace spontaneity, just like the pantsers say. However, if you plan to continue the story as a series, you'll need to face the consequences in the second book. Take the time to carefully review every little detail in the first book, as your fans - well, at least some of them - will surely notice.

The second lesson is that while it's tempting to meticulously document every item, location, thought, conversation, and idea in the first book for easy reference in the second, proceed with caution. The main goal is to complete the first book. Feel free to create a catalog of everything that transpires while writing, but don't worry if you don't. Just remember to revisit and reacquaint yourself with the first book before embarking on the second.

In conclusion, the process of writing a sequel is a journey of rediscovery and reflection. It's an enlightening, albeit challenging, venture into the realms of continuity, coherence, and complexity, where every decision has a ripple effect on the narrative tapestry. Yet, it's this intricate dance between past choices and future implications that makes writing sequels both a daunting task and a rewarding experience. As my journey with "The Sirens of Chronos" continues, I'm learning to embrace the challenges and celebrate the revelations that come with writing a sequel. It's an exciting, unpredictable ride, much like the plot twists in the story itself.

"Hey, DALL-E, WTF?" - When AI prompts go bad. Not quite putting the eyes on the Champagne Bucket.


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