HOW TO MAKE BOOK 2 WORTHWHILE
The book 2 bridge is not a good thing. It’s a literary abortion. It’s the middle child of writing. Book 2 is just a bust, just like a squashed tomato.
Many people who set out to write a trilogy make the mistake of viewing book 2 as a connection book, a book that bridges book 1 to book 3. We don’t admit it, because facing the reality is too harsh.
Instead we view book 2 as a way to show characterization and to explore more of the world that we’ve created.
This approach usually results in a book that could have more simply been summed up in a witty dialogue chapter of book 1 or 3. It doesn’t have the same weight as book 1 or 3. The stakes aren’t as high. The lessons learned are simpler.
Think of the recent Batman Trilogy. The second film was FAR from a middle child.
The second film was great in that it did not build up to an unresolved climax. Batman won but not without losses. This is what we had come to expect.
Since I’m not a fan of bashing people’s work, I will refrain from addressing the bad number 2’s.
But what can we do to make book 2 worthwhile?
REMEMBER WHAT MADE BOOK 1 WORK
If Book 1 was exploratory, adventurous, tense, and refreshing. Then guess what? Book 2 should be exploratory, adventurous, tense, and refreshing.
What does that mean?
If you’re writing a Sci-Fi novel where Martians want to become humans from a Martian’s POV, then Book 1 should show the Martian exploring earth, meeting new people, and getting used to the primitive technology (remember it’s from his POV so a cell phone is so last week).
Then Book 2 should encapsulate these same elements without being redundant. And for the love of all things good, please don’t entitle book 2 as Martian in Manhattan.
There’s more to the world than New York. Maybe the Martian has to find some hidden element in the mummies within the Pyramids so that he can link human DNA with Martian DNA. Let’s say he finds it, and it works, so Book 1 ends.
Book 2 has to be something else. It has to have the feel of Book 1. Remember that we created a book with the main premise that a Martian wants to become a human.
Book 2 will need to have similar elements. We’ll suppose that there are consequences of becoming human. The main consequence is the fluctuations of human emotions. The Martian wrestles with anger, sadness, depression, and even love. The earthling friend who helped him in book 1 betrays him. The woman who helped him when he arrived, he falls in love with. The bitterness is unraveling his DNA at the molecular level because the transformation has not fully set within his system. He must learn to forgive if he wants to live. He does. Book 2 ends.
Book 3 is the epic finish. The Martian people threaten to abandon our Martian protag if he does not restructure his DNA and come home. Guess what. He doesn’t. Book 3 ends.
Notice how each book develops the character, but each book branches out into its own category. None of them can be summed up in a few words.
This is a quick example, created in about five minutes. But we can do much better than this. Keep that in mind when you write book 2.
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