Author's Corner

Just like ‘Mockingbird,’ your book could use a sequel


The literary world has been abuzz with news of Harper Lee’s announcement that a sequel to the classic “To Kill a Mockingbird” was in the works.


(Flickr: Rachel Kramer)

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While most of the world celebrates the news,  there are going to be some who will fret over the prospect of a sequel that could pale alongside its companion.

Many readers would admit that a sequel to a favorite book has to be pretty darn good, lest the original story end up feeling diminished.

Read: Famed author Toni Morrison to release new book

Of course, there are a great many examples of sequels that have segued into series that have proven to be wildly popular and well-received. Think, Harry Potter and “The Twilight Saga.”

Read: John Steinbeck: 6 tips for ‘getting started’ writing

Are you writing a sequel for your own book? Keep the following considerations in mind:

–It requires considerable courage to add to an original story that has gone golden. Closely examine the first book and determine whether or not the plot can be reasonably advanced in a way that is both exciting and plausible for the reader.

–Do you have enough gas in the tank to propel the narrative forward? If the writer as grown tired of the characters and story line, there is a good chance that the audience will feel the same way. Be sure that you are still inspired by the story.

–Strive to keep all things congruent with the way you wrote the first book as a way of providing a consistent voice. This includes maintaining your daily writing ritual and even word count for a fluid reading experience for the audience.

–Stay focused on the positive aspects of the first novel. Determine what made the book so successful and be sure to apply that same formula in the second and subsequent books.

–Think of ways that you can further excite the reader in your sophomore effort. Perhaps add in a new setting or introduce a plot twist that will keep the readers dialed in and engaged.

–Finally, while it’s important to stay true to the integrity of your characters, it’s also OK to let them grow and evolve in their thinking. Emotional development is a very real and very human experience that will enrich your characters and the overall reading experience.

Kerri S. Mabee is managing editor at and founder of Breeze Media & Communications. Learn more about her at


Kerri S. Mabee

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