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About Literature / Professional Official Beta Tester NatFemale/United Kingdom Groups :iconrock-musical-bleach: Rock-Musical-BLEACH
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Artist | Professional | Literature
United Kingdom
Hi, I'm Nat. :)

:) I am the author of a series of books set in feudal Japan.

The first is out and can be found here:…

It's called THE THIEF OF RED MOUNTAIN and it's a suspense thriller with a twisty plot and lots of action and romance.

The second book, A TOWN FOR PAPER GHOSTS will be out in October 2014.

You can also get news and updates on the whole Akayama series here:

:) I'm an editor, offering help to new novelists through GIRL AND CAT PUBLISHING, which specialises in guiding writing newbies through the self-publishing process so that their finished product is not only professional, but also the best that it can be.

If you are interested in our services, you can find out more about us here: and on our Facebook group,…

:) I'm a cosplayer and events organiser.

Together with :iconsurlycat: , our photographer , I organise THE BLEACH FRIDAY PHOTOSHOOT at MCM Expo London

You can join the event here:…

Rukia Kuchiki
Nel Tu
Chibi Byakuya Kuchiki
Nanao Ise
Hisana Kuchiki
Seras Victoria
Oboro no Iga
Mikasa Ackerman
Recently I undertook a brand new challenge as a writer, the challenge that is The Sequel.

The thing about sequels is: they SHOULD be easy. You've already spent months, if not years, with your characters. You know them inside out. You finished all the world-building in the first book. All this has to be is a continuation, building on everything that was successful in the first, right? Wrong!

There's a reason why the sequels to most films are weak. All the advantages I've outlined above are there, sure, but they are outweighed by a whole host of disadvantages.

Basically, if you consider a book to be a chocolate cake, it's made of a dozen different ingredients. For Chocolate Cake 2: Return of the Chocolate Cake, you already have about half of those ingredients mixed into your bowl. It saves time, but that's the only thing it saves because you are missing one magical ingredient, which you had in your first cake. That is, Originality. If we can stretch the metaphor, you're making your next cake without the sugar. And people are going to notice. Alright then, it's already a different cake. If all you do is put in the same ingredients you had before, then it will be merely a pale and bitter copy of the original. Worse still, some people will miss out some of the ingredients they used before - character development for example: we had that in book one, so we don't need it again.

On the contrary, for the second cake (book) to work, you need to include all the ingredients and they need to be even better than the first. Why? Because they have to make up for the loss of your special ingredient. You are no longer Original.

I want to talk about two ingredients that, for me, have been key...

i think, if you look at your first book and feel that your characters have completed their journey, then it may be that a sequel is not for you. Because all plots need characters to develop, and your characters should not be having to learn the same lessons over and over again. (If they do, it will weaken their journey in the first book).

To take a simple example from my first book, my character Mei, I think, makes two journeys in the book. She loses her naivety, and she falls in love. The latter is not as trite as it sounds because she is a character who is so completely out of touch with her emotions that it comes as a revelation to her. As such though, she completes a character arc: she is offered a challenge based upon her flaws (naivety, lack of intimacy), she rises to the challenge and has learnt something by the end of the book.

So was she ready for book 2? Well, I certainly didn't want to rehash those same ideas, so I had to have a long, hard look at her and ask if there was anything else she might want. I decided that she had, throughout the first book, lacked self-awareness and the ability to communicate her emotions well. In book 1, these are just facets of her personality, but I chose to make them a central challenge in book 2. Which brings me on to...

This needs to be different from that in your first book. Bigger and better is always good, but it's not a necessity. So long as your characters' development is taking a different trajectory, so too should the obstacles they face. The two are interrelated. For Mei, it was to put her in a situation where she would lose something precious to her unless she became more aware of her emotions and, in turn, of herself and her desires.

And, as ever, my favourite part of any book and also, often, the part that shows itself to me last. Ideally, your book should have a theme. This acts as an anchor. If the story is spiralling out of control, it's probably because you don't have a defined theme (I'm not speaking from a superior position here; this has happened to me soooooooo many times).

The theme again should be different from book 1. For me, book 1 was all about identity and the freedom we have to choose our own identity. When I first started the sequel, this was still the theme, and that was a big problem because, really, I had already said all that needed to be said on that topic in book 1, but I was so used to returning to it that I struggled to shake it off.

I needed to weigh anchor elsewhere. But I'm not convinced there is a trick with themes. They really need to be something that you are passionate about, something that you believe in strongly enough that it will carry you through. And it could come from anywhere. Mine usually grow organically out of the plot and, once I have them I may need to go back and rewrite, but once they are there they serve as an invaluable guide.

I always think that starting with advice like that above and writing plot from there is like running a race backwards. Start with instincts. Start with inspirations. And only ever use writing advice when you become stuck. But if you have any concerns about your sequel, try out the following checklist for inspiration:
:) At the end of book 1, could your characters have been any more fulfilled/satisfied? (Character)
:) What could prevent them from attaining that future happiness? (Challenge)
:) What would they need to learn in order to avoid / overcome failure? (Theme)

Have fun!
  • Mood: Sentimental
  • Listening to: Sea of Lovers - Cristina Perry
  • Reading: Blade of Snow - Aaron Pinsky
  • Watching: Top Gear
  • Playing: Game of Thrones: Ascent
  • Eating: Chocolate cupcake
  • Drinking: Kenco Coffee

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InvisibleKing Featured By Owner May 27, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Thanks for joining :iconblade-dancers:!
Djedra Featured By Owner May 27, 2014  Professional Writer
Thank you for requesting my pictures. Sorry I was oate getting to the requests. I think you have plenty of mine now though! XD
InvisibleKing Featured By Owner May 27, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Np! Nice to have them in the gallery ^^
AlyHisanaKurosaki16 Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Student General Artist
Rose74 Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Student Writer
Just wishing you a happy birthday. :party: :iconcakeplz: :airborne:
nijiryuu Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! :iconbunnyloveplz:
28KuchikiByakuya Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014
Happy Birthday 10th BirthdAy Bounce 
Hanami-Mai Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you for the favourite! ^^
nikonforever Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2014  Professional Photographer

Truly appreciated

Best regards

DavidNowak Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2014
Thanks for the fav! Have a llama.
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