Hey everyone! Back again with hopefully a cool production journal/behind the scenes look at the making of book 2 of Adamsville.
Remember if you haven’t seen the Kickstarter for Adamsville Book 2, please consider consider backing the campaign and getting this book to print.
When book 1 was finished, I was on the hunt for a publisher back in 2013. The book received a lot of great feedback from the publishers I had spoken to and honestly I left it all feeling more encouraged than discouraged about the books. When the Kickstarter succeeded for book 1 and the feedback and response following all of that was so strong, I started getting really anxious that the second book would be a big failure.
So with that I wanted to talk about 3 things I applied in crafting (what I hope will be) an amazing sequel:
Bigger Isn’t Better Without Character
I knew going into this book that the ideas and concepts were always going to be bigger than the first book, and this scared me. I mean, we’ve all seen this happen with franchises in the past. They just lose… something. They either try to pack too much in, or the whole story feels like a setup for a future story (with apologies… Age of Ultron). The danger is real, because there is a tremendous pressure on you as a creator to deliver. It took me a solid year of writing book 2 before I ever felt like the story was ready to move forward, and mostly because the story was too big and overstuffed. It lacked focus and themes that drove the characters through the conflict.
The simplest way to combat this is to remember to focus on the theme of the story and the characters in that theme. A sequel, even if it is a bridge to another story, should feel pretty self contained and, overall, not ask too much for the readers to retain in the story following the one they’re in. So originally the conflict in book 2 was bigger than the first, but there were all these trailing sequences that just didn’t need to be there. When all was said and done, I maybe threw out about 70 pages of content before arriving at the book I made. It may not be the book I thought it would be when I started, but it is a much better book than the one that started out of the fear I had in the beginning. In the end you need to care about the characters and their journey in that SPECIFIC conflict.
It Should Feel The Same But Different
This feels like it has more to do with tone than anything. We’ve all seen sequels that just don’t even feel like they exist in the same universe as the original or are just WAY too similar. How do you avoid this? Well, I personally think Jurassic World is a great example of how to do this right! Jurassic World has a lot of crazy stuff in it, but for this fan, it all felt right… They gave us things that I always felt like I wanted, but didn’t know that I did… Seeing the park fully operational, dinosaurs that respond and work with humans, A GIANT MONSTER DINOSAUR HYBRID! They gave us something that was the same but different.
The same could be said of Alien and Aliens. Very different tonally, but still they feel like they exist in the same space, while escalating the plot and scope of the conflict. I’ve often said that if book 1 of Adamsville is Alien, book 2 is Aliens. That’s my hope anyways… A bigger, funnier, scarier and more action packed book than the first that still retains the feeling of the original… A tall order, lol.
Deliver On The Promise Of The Premise
This is like the cardinal sin of a story for me. I have made it a point in my writing to ALWAYS deliver on my endings. If the ending isn’t everything the premise of the story promised, then I have dropped the ball. So when I tell you “monsters are going to invade a school dance,” well I better give you everything you expect from that. It makes the endings a very difficult process to work through because I always feel like this is where I do need to add things and up the tension of the story. Book 2 was no exception. The ending took a LONG time to get right, but I arrived at a place where I feel like I have given you the readers what you expected in the beginning. It just took adding 10 more pages. 🙂
I think of Jurassic World again here (which isn’t a movie without its flaws). That ending left me cheering because it escalated exactly as I felt it should have. Everything the story had been teasing at finally came together into something really special.
So those are my three points of emphasis in creating this sequel. I really hope I succeeded! Lol. I’ll let you all decide.
One more thing I wanted to talk about is a Kickstarter project I am really excited about.
SKYHEART by Jake Parker
Jake Parker has long been one of my favorite artists. I love his books, art, rock his Harry Potter t-shirt all the time and watch his videos as soon as they’re updated. Beyond just loving Jake’s work, I love his approach and general manifesto towards the work he creates. He’s positive, encouraging, and ambitious. I’ve been no more excited than when he launched this campaign.
Besides being excited for what the book is itself, I’m excited about what he’s trying to accomplish that I’ve never really seen done on Kickstarter for a comic… Essentially he’s creating a self publishing campaign that allows him to actually produce the book and develop it… and it’s succeeding! Normally most Kickstarter’s in comics focus on getting a book printed that is finished (which is how I approach mine), but this campaign is designed so Jake can focus exclusively on making Skyheart and put aside other freelance work. As an independent creator this is really exciting… There are a lot of great books out there that creators can’t get published for any number of justifiable reasons on the part of the publisher. But making those books, absent the funds to do so from a publisher is very hard if you have other work obligations. If we can arrive at a place where talented creators like Jake are able to not just print the finished product, but also be supported by a community of supporters and patrons to make the books they envision… Well we all benefit.
He’s off to an amazing start and the book looks fantastic. If you haven’t had a chance to visit his campaign, check it out! It’s going to be an exciting project to watch come together and I can’t wait to see the story he’s creating: SKYHEARTCOMIC.COM