Budding authors hear all kinds of advice in the beginning. What to do and what not to do.
You've probably heard this before:
"If no one picks up your manuscript immediately, don’t bother writing a sequel. It is a waste of time"
For my first ms, I ignored this advice and wrote another 50K words in the storyline and outlined a third and fourth as well as the ending. After several partials and full requests, it didn't garner an agent, mostly I think due to the writing not the storyline. Someday I will return to Of Oak and Dragons to test that theory.
I took the “no sequel” advice to heart on my second ms and although I knew there was more to the story, I left it and went onto the next project. My notebooks and Post Its that continued The Magic Withheld were put in a folder and set aside.
At that time, the characters in The Adamant grabbed me and I followed them, happy as a dog with a Frisbee.
But a funny thing happened. Musa Publishing, Urania Imprint picked up my novel, Magic. And they wanted a second and possibly third book in the series.
Holy Talking Cats! What great news!
I turned my focus from Adamant and back to Magic. Well, boy howdy, I found I didn't KNOW the characters, Justus and Sable. I had to re-introduce myself to them.
We treated each other like vague strangers for weeks, polite and formal. Well-bred discussions followed about the weather and we served teas with white gloves and icy façades.
Note: The above paragraph is for writers only since they know what the heck I’m talking about. They are the ones nodding their head and murmuring, “yep, yep.” The other folk are thinking that I heard voices, was talking to myself, and...oh, wait. Actually, they're right.
I needed to get back to the characters’ inner demons and conflicts. I pulled my notes from the corner of my file cabinet, blew off the dust, and rolled up my sleeves. It was a difficult slog though. It was like I was reading someone else’s notes. I skimmed the top like a pond skater bug where it was all polite smiles. The information I needed wasn't on the surface but down deep like buried treasure.
It wasn't until I took a three-hour drive that my characters dropped their inhibitions and revealed themselves again. Now I’m on track. Now I see through their eyes, feel their passions, fears, and goals.
Bottom line, advice is great but only you know what is *really* going on in your head. Stick with the manuscript if your heart is in it. Finish the sequels if you believe in your MCs. Because finding them after a time period is difficult.