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Another Marvelous Guest Post from Mary Fan

Another Marvelous Guest Post from Mary Fan

I asked Mary Fan if she would honor me by doing another guest post for my blog. She is such an amazing author, and I truly look up to her. She, of course, said yes. 🙂 I was excited to hear about the subject of sequels. I haven’t gotten there yet myself, so I was very interested to hear about her experiences in this matter. Here is Mary’s insight into the world of writing sequels.


Writing a sequel

Series are a lot of fun for both readers and writers. For readers, it’s an opportunity to get more of the world and characters they love. For writers, it’s a chance to explore far-sighted stories and unfold more and more bits of their fictional universes. Having written a sequel or two myself, I can tell you that it’s nothing like writing the first book.

Here are four ways it’s easier:

1. The world is already established

You’ve done your world-building already, so you don’t have to worry about figuring out your magic systems or what kind of futuristic tech is available and stuff. You don’t need to explain everything. All you need is a quick recap where necessary.

2. So are the characters
You don’t need to worry about creating your primary characters and setting up their back stories. The readers already know who they are, so you can concentrate on how they’ll develop.

3. Readers know what to expect
There’s less pressure to establish a particular tone or voice or style for your book. For instance, if the first one was an adventure, readers know your next one will be an adventure, so you can afford a slower opening.

4. The plot’s groundwork has been laid
Plotting a first book feels like fumbling in the dark because pretty much anything goes, but with the second book, things have already been set in motion, and you just have to figure out where they would go. You now have a strip of emergency lights along the ground guiding you forward.

Here are four ways it’s harder:

1. The world is already established
You have to remember the facts of your fictional universe and work within the boundaries you set. No more futzing around to make things work—you have to follow your own rules.

2. So are the characters
Like with world-building, you have to follow your own rules. Any new reveals about their pasts have to be consistent with whatever you came up with for the first book. And no more changing your mind.

3. Readers know what to expect
The pressure’s on to match the first book. If your first book was an adventure, then your second better not be a slow-paced drama. You also have to match the sparkle of Book 1 without the benefit of being new and shiny.

4. The plot’s groundwork has been laid
You aren’t as free to mess around with the plot as in Book 1. You’ve already set events in motion, and it’s too late to change them now. You have to be reactive to your own story. That strip of lights might be guiding you, but if you want to go in another direction, you risk falling off a cliff.

Thanks for another amazing post Mary!!! Don’t forget to check out her latest work, Fire Dragon Rising.



Mary Fan is a hopeless dreamer, whose mind insists on spinning tales of “what if.” As a music major in college, she told those stories through compositions. Now she tells them through books—a habit she began as soon as she could pick up a pencil. Flynn Nightsider and the Edge of Evil follows a well-received debut novel, a space opera titled Artificial Absolutes (2013), and is the first in the Flynn Nightsider series. Mary would like to think that there are many other novels in her bag, and hopes to prove that to the world as well.

Mary lives in New Jersey and has a B.A. from Princeton University. When she’s not scheming to create new worlds, she enjoys kickboxing, opera singing, and blogging about everything having to do with books.

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