Why I rarely write sequels

Originally published September 27, 2017.

It’s a question I get all the time.  “Any chance for a sequel?”  “Is there going to be a part 2 / (whatever number would come next after a multi-part story)?”  “Please tell me there’s going to be more!”  And don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate the sentiment behind questions like this:  that someone loved one of my stories so much that they didn’t want it to end.  I know that if anything, it’s intended as a compliment.

But the fact is, no, I generally don’t write sequels to my stories.

I think some of the basis for the question might be that there are authors out there who post their stories in chunks as they work on them.  They’ll finish a chapter, post it, and then work on the next one.  That, I think, creates this expectation in some readers that any given story posted on here could be unfinished.

But I’m not one of those authors who posts my work in pieces as I finish them.  I would much, much rather finish the entire story and post the whole thing at once than post in pieces.  That way, if I decide I want to change something in an earlier part of the story as I’m working on it, I have the freedom to do so.  Otherwise, I would be beholden to the parts I’d already posted and how I’d written the story so far.

Of course, that doesn’t preclude the possibility of writing sequels to those finished stories.  So why don’t I?

The main reason is because once I post a new story, it means I’ve explored that premise as much as I want to.  You might think there’s more potential in it, that there’s more story that could be written, and you might be right.  But when I post a story, it means I’ve explored the premise as much as I want to.  If there were more of that story that I wanted to tell, I would have kept writing, and included that extra story in the finished product.  Once the story goes up on this page, it means I’m satisfied with where it is and don’t want to add anymore.

But, you might say, maybe I could do it to give the people what they want?  Well, the fact of the matter is, I’m not Hollywood.  I’m more concerned with what’s creatively challenging and fulfilling for me than I am with making stories that are guaranteed to get a good reception.  In particular, I find it really satisfying to find new and novel ways to fatten a man up, and quite a few of my readers have told me they like my work for that reason.  Writing a sequel that just continues a previous idea is the exact opposite of new and novel.

There’s also the matter of inspiration.  When I stop writing a story, it’s usually because I’ve taken the story as far as my inspiration will take me.  To continue the story beyond that point, e.g. by writing a sequel, wouldn’t be fun for me because it would feel more like work than a hobby.  And I know from experience that when I’m not inspired while I write, it’s reflected in my writing.  My writing becomes more stiff, more clinical, less colorful and vivid.  My sentence structure becomes less varied, and it feels like I’m just plodding ahead to get to the conclusion, rather than trying to paint a scene.  All of that means that the story itself will be much less fun for you as a reader to read.  So it won’t be fun for anyone.

There’s also the very practical matter of growth.  Some readers and writers have no limits to how big a guy can get while they’ll still find it hot.  I’m not one of them.  As you might have noticed, and as I mentioned explicitly in my second anniversary request raffle, I don’t like reading or writing guys gaining to immobility, let alone even bigger.  For me, that’s where a story stops being hot.  It’s not something I can intellectualize, just a personal preference I’ve always had.

What this means for sequels is that there’s a maximum of how big I’m willing to make a guy in my stories.  Sometimes the maximum is even lower depending on the premise of the story.  When I finish a story, you can bet that I’ve made the guy as big as I’m willing to make him given the circumstances surrounding him.  Which means there would be quite literally no room for him to grow in the sequel.  And what’s a gaining story without any gaining?

So that’s why I don’t write sequels.  I would rather forge boldly ahead into new and exciting ideas than revisit old territory that I’m already satisfied with.  And hopefully those of you wishing for a sequel to one of your favorite stories will find something to like in these new stories that reminds you of why you liked those old stories so much.

And hey, if you want to see the story continued that much, you could always write a fanfic sequel yourself.

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