According to Wikipedia, "a prequel is a literary, dramatic, or filmic work whose story precedes that of the previous work." A sequel, on the other hand, continues the current story with some type of connection to the original story, whether it be with a character, a setting, or subject matter.
Goodreads lists 76 novels that are prequels. Star wars also has a popular prequel series.
After I wrote Summer of Deception, I sketched two sequels to follow, but at the time I was reading some great pirate era novels and they caught my fancy. So I decided to go back into the 1700's and write a story about Luke Barrett's ancestor who first built Barrett Hall. I decided to make him a pirate who had taken the King's pardon and used his wealth to settle down and start plantation life. This is actually what some pirates did.
Here are tips that helped me write a prequel:
1) Place a Teaser for the Prequel (or sequel) in the Current Novel
I decided to hint at the book to come by placing a full-sized portrait of Luke Barrett's pirate ancestor, Captain Lucas Bloodstone Barrett, in the attic in Summer of Deception. And, of course, Rachel finds the portrait and Luke also dresses up like the pirate for the costume ball at the Pennington's Plantation.
2) Keep Inspired by Obtaining Pictures of Main Characters
I practice Yvonne Lehman's story boarding technique of finding pictures of main characters to inspire my writing. Here are pictures I've used for my heroes/heroines in these two books. Believe me, they kept me inspired.
|Luke Barrett, (George Clooney) my hardworking plantation owner, hero, in Summer of Deception)|
|Rachel York, my feisty heroine in Summer of Deception. (I don't know her real name). ( :|
|Travay Allston, heroine indebted to hero In a Pirate's Debt. (I don't know her real name either)|
|Captain Lucas Bloodstone Barrett, my mighty rescuer/hero of In a Pirate's Debt. (Gerard Butler in the movie, Attila) This is actually the picture that confirmed to me I'd write my first pirate novel. I viewed the movie, and it is not a pirate movie, but hero Gerard as Attila captured my imagination.|
3) Do careful research --and be ready for surprises
I made several trips down to Boone Hall Plantation in Charleston while writing both these novels. That's the plantation I used for my setting and renamed it Barrett Hall. After I decided to do the prequel, I told the historical staff person at Boone Hall what I was doing and that I had made the original owner of Boone/Barrett Hall, a pirate who took the King's pardon.
You can imagine my shock when her eyes widened and she said, "The original owner was a pirate!"
So la de da! We found the right historical track.
Have you written a prequel or are you thinking about doing one? Please leave a comment and share this on your social media if you found it interesting.
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Elva Cobb Martin