Friday, May 30, 2008

Sequels - Good or Bad?


Every good story deserves a follow-up, right?

Just look at Hollywood. The aging Harrison Ford is back in the latest installment of Indiana Jones, Sylvester Stallone reprised his Rambo role last year, and news has been released that Eddie Murphy signed on for “Beverly Hills Cop 4”.

Obviously all of these original movies were big hits and of course Hollywood wants to capitalize on past success. It is often the same in the publishing world. One great book just begs to be written into a second, a third, maybe even a fourth. But is it always a good idea?

Back in the old days, I remember reading my first romance novels by Rosemary Rogers. Sweet Savage Love was one of my favorites (and I still love it today). The tale of Steve and Ginny was timeless and oh-so romantic. Of course I wanted more. I bought every Rosemary Rogers book I could get my hands on. Unfortunately, the sequels of Steve and Ginny’s romance just weren’t as good as the first book. I didn’t want to read about their marriage and their children – that stuff was too realistic. I wanted to be swept away again into the passion and excitement when two people first meet and sparks fly.

And therein lies the crux of the matter. Sequels are only worthwhile, in my opinion, when they bring something new to the table. Much as I loved the “Sex and the City” series I don’t have any real strong desire to see the movie after reading reviews which state it is really just one long (two and a half hours) episode which continues where the television show left off.

I started a sequel to Golden Enchantment after writing that first book using Kent McCabe, a secondary character who was just so charming and exciting that he nearly begged me to be written. I was almost finished with it when I re-read my efforts and decided it just wasn’t working for me. I hated the characters, I hated the way they acted, I just hated the whole idea. Now, maybe someday I’ll go back and rewrite that sequel and make it better, but honestly, I don’t have any motivation to do so right now. I’d rather move on to other, more interesting concepts.

And sometimes that’s just the way it should be.

And for the record, I don’t want to see an AARP-eligible Michael J. Fox reprise his role as a high school kid in “Back to the Future 4” or geriatric versions of Mel Gibson’s and Danny Glover’s characters bringing down bad guys with walkers in the latest installment of the “Lethal Weapon” series. Let it go, people, let it go.

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