How to Write Sequels: Inciting Incident

This Christmas I read the second book in a series that terrified me in more than one way. One way it scared me was how far the series has fallen from it’s amazing first book. You can read my review here. It also got me thinking about the second book in my trilogy. Am I writing a book that still follows the principals of classically told stories or is book 2 in my Ronos Trilogy going to end up in ruins (see what I did there)?

Don’t Forget the Basics
Every book in a series needs an inciting incident. It is incredibly easy to fall into the trap of relying on the inciting incident in the first book of the series for all the books but don’t. It’s tempting because that inciting incident incites the whole series. You can refer to it but don’t think you can get away with not writing a new one for a new book.

Think about Harry Potter if you need an example. The inciting incident of the first book is also the inciting incident of the series, Harry finds out that he is a wizard. Every other book also has its own Inciting incident that opens up a new problem for the characters to deal with.

Ronos 2
That’s what I’m trying to do with book 2 in The Ronos Trilogy. The big question in Catalyst: Book 1 in the Ronos Trilogy got answered. Is the war real? Now I need a new inciting incident for book 2 that will lead Mac and his cohorts to a new question that will be answered by the climax. It also needs to lead to bigger conflicts in book 3.

I just started rewrites on book 2. Having just finished a sequel without a clear inciting incident I am going to edit my book very carefully to make sure that scene is present.

Also, don’t forget that an inciting incident isn’t complete until the protagonist reacts to it. That’s what I need to check out tonight. I’m sure I have the first half of the inciting incident but I can’t remember when Mac reacts to it. In book 1 the first part of the inciting incident is the destruction of Northgate but it’s not complete until Mac resolves to go look for his family who was in the city.

Ronos 2 Part 2
Now on to something completely unrelated, I’m getting sick of calling it book 2 in The Ronos Trilogy. That takes too long. It might be time to reveal the title of this book so I can start using it my blog posts. Stay tuned for further developments.


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