Prequel

by Marissa
(Ohio)

Question: In my book I have a character that when you meet her she's already been through a lot and met a lot of people and just thought of the idea to write a book on her that showed her life before everything and leading up to the events in the actual book and I've seen that done a few times and I've noticed that it's not as long as an actual book it's always shorter so I'm not exactly sure how long I would makes it.


Answer: How long you make it depends entirely on the extent to which you develop her story.

In the examples you've seen, it may be that the author simply did not develop the character's backstory beyond a certain extent (needed for the first book), and then did not venture too far beyond than later when writing the prequel. It might also be that the author felt somewhat constrained by the facts that were already established about the character.

However, you have no reason to feel bound by such limitations. If you wanted to, you could create a very well-developed, full-length book about this character, of which only a small part addresses the issues in the other book. It's a matter of taking the time to find a story that really excites you, and developing it in exciting ways.

For that matter, you might create a story about this character that takes place years before the events that make her the person she is when she appears in the other story.

For example: A.C. Crispin wrote a trilogy of books about the life of Han Solo (the Star Wars character) before the events of the first film. In fact, there are over 90 Star Wars novels, including both prequels and sequels to the films.

The other lesson this teaches is that if your first work proves very popular, writing sequels or prequels is a great way to extend the franchise and increase your sales.

But that's down the road. The thing to focus on is making that first project successful.

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions About Novel Writing.


 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook


NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles


"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards



"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero