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The sequel: the author’s opportunity to retain readers

The sequel: the author’s opportunity to retain readers

      During the past ten years I have written five novels. Instead of confining my writing to a specific genre as many authors have done, I have written about a broad variety of subjects; for instance, my first two novels, Blossoms of Winter and Maiden Harvest are family books. Tom, Dick, and Harriet isa whimsical story about the complications of growing old; Random Reflections is a memoir of my early youth and some short stories and poetry. My latest book, Southern Sanctuary, is an intriguing mystery. When I finished writing the first four novels, the story was complete. There was no need for a sequel; as a result, the conclusive stories offer the reader closure. However, my latest novel, Southern Sanctuary, provided me with an opportunity to expand on the original story. The book is an exciting mystery with many unexpected twists and turns and with an abrupt, unexpected climax.   

      Whenever many people have really enjoyed reading a novel, they are reluctant to see it end. Their enthusiasm has been aroused by their interest in the story itself, or the author’s way of telling it. Sometimes the descriptive words of the author are so vivid they pull the reader into the story and make him imagine that he is living the experiences of the characters. In such cases, the reader’s imagination either transports him into a world of fantasy, or a different reality. On occasion, he is uplifted by the positive climax of the story. When a writer has the imagination and writing skill to capture and retain the continued loyalty of the reader, he has become a competent, creative author.

      When an author feels that his novel is complete, he literally “closes the book” on the story; for he feels that it has reached its finality. Some stories, however, have quick and unexpected endings, especially tales of mystery or violence with abbreviated or shocking climaxes. Because of their abrupt endings, they almost seem incomplete. These stories almost cry out for a sequel—a clarification or continuation of the original book. This establishes a connection between the reader and the author. If the reader likes the first book, he will usually read the sequel with the same curiosity.

      This continuation of the original story creates a perfect opportunity for the author to recapture the interest of the reader as he experiences the satisfaction of closure; in addition, the sequel makes the reader hunger for the aftermath of the original story. For the above reasons, I am writing a sequel to my latest novel, Southern Sanctuary. The name of the sequel (my sixth book) will be Southern Storm.

The reader becomes a participant.
C.S. Lewis
 

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