Tips On Writing A Sequel

ASunde.1d.WEBToday I’m pleased to welcome fellow Australian author and dear writerly friend, Angela Sunde. She has been on a very interesting journey with her latest book, Snap Magic, and she’s going to share a little of the magic here at DeeScribe Writing.

Angela Sunde is the author of the light-hearted fantasy novels Snap Magic, and Pond Magic (an Aussie Chomp – Penguin Australia.) Awarded a May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust Fellowship in 2013, Angela represents the Gold Coast as a committee member of the Queensland branch of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and is the editor of the Redlands City Council’s ‘Junior Redlitzer Anthology 2014.’ Formerly an award-winning language and literacy teacher, she is also a children’s writing judge and offers workshops at libraries and schools.

Angela Sunde’s own tweenhood experiences were the inspiration for Snap Magic’s cringeworthy laugh-out-loud moments. ‘Writing Snap Magic took me right back to being twelve years old. It’s like I never grew up. I just wish I could reassure Lily that it’ll all be okay in the end.’


Hello Dee!

Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog today. I’m very chuffed to be here. Coming up with five writing tips has made me reflect on my own methods during the planning stages of my writing.

When I wrote my new release, Snap Magic (the sequel to my Aussie Chomp, Pond Magic), I had no intention of independently publishing it. I had a firm invitation to submit from my publisher and had sent it to them just days before I received an email to tell me the Aussie Chomps list was closed. I read the email on my phone then immediately did a face plant on the couch. Ha ha!

Snap Magic, therefore, was written as an Aussie Chomp to the exacting specifications of that series. The approach I took when writing it is outlined below:

Five Writing Tips on Writing a Sequel:

  1. Look carefully at your first book. Why was it initially accepted for publication? What are its strengths? How do the characters interact with one another? Which narrative voice did you use? What was the tone of your story? This will give you a foundation on which to build a new plot.
  2. Consider the length of your sequel. It should match the first book in pacing, story arc and sub plot (if any). Refer to your previous notes and re-read your first book to ‘get in the zone.’
  3. Stick to a similar number of characters in the sequel. Let some go, while introducing new ones. Your main character should grow and change in a fresh way; he or she cannot undergo the same character development as in the previous story. Be consistent with character traits and quirks across both books.
  4. Follow a similar writing routine as you did for the first story. If mind mapping or free writing worked well the first time, it most likely will again. For Pond Magic I had worked out ten scenes and written summaries for each. I did the same with Snap Magic, allowing for flexibility.
  5. If you’re not completely sure the idea you have for the sequel will work, then don’t write it. Go and work on another project. A better idea may pop up later.

Thank you so much! I enjoyed visiting your blog today and I look forward to chatting with your readers.

Thanks for visiting us, Angela and sharing your great tips. Lovely to have you and Lily visiting DeeScribe Writing:)


Unwanted facial hair and bra shopping with a mother who has no idea of what’s cool in lingerie is a tween’s worst nightmare.

So the reader knows right from the start that they are going to be in for an exciting ride with Angela Sunde’s new chapter book, Snap Magic.

The book features Lily Padd who was introduced to readers in the popular Pond Magic published in Penguin’s Chomps series.

As if having a grandma bra and sprouting hair aren’t bad enough, the awful Ellen Middleton is threatening to tell the whole school about Lily’s problems, including the cute new boy.

It gets worse. Lily’s plans to shine at the Halloween dance have been thwarted when her father gives her gown to the six-year-old twins to play dressups.

Angela Sunde really knows how to raise the stakes and put her characters in seemingly impossible situations.

But Lily is a girl of strong character and she’s not going to let this series of events bring her down. Mrs Swan next door knows magic, perhaps she can help. Unfortunately, her magic doesn’t always quite work out, so Lily has to decide whether seeking her help is worth the risk.

As well as being full of tension and excitement, there’s also fabulous humour in this book, and the situations and characters are very authentic.

There are many cringe worthy moments where the reader is kept on tenterhooks wondering how Lily will escape ultimate embarrassment.

Snap Magic has everything. Humour, action, magic, secrets, bullies, friendship and even pumpkin soup.

The beautiful illustrations are also by Angela Sunde.

Lily is an endearing, not quite perfect character and readers aged 9 to 12 will be able to form a strong connection with her.

Snap Magic includes themes of trust, bullying, fears, embarrassing parents, puberty onset, and that actions have consequences.

ISBN 978-0-9925753-0-4 (pbk) and ISBN 978-0-9925753-1-1 (ebook) Snap Magic can be purchased through Fishpond. Find out more about this book and how it was created by visiting these other great blogs.

Snap Magic Blog Tour Dates


Monday 13. Kids Book Review

Tuesday 14. Sheryl Gwyther

Wednesday 15. Robyn Opie

Karen Tyrrell

Thursday 16. Alison Reynolds

Friday 17. Chris Bell – From Hook to Book

Saturday 18. Boomerang Books Blog

Dimity Powell

Sunday 18. Sandy Fussell / The Reading Stack

Monday 20. Aussiereviews

Tuesday 21. Dee White

Wednesday 22. Angela Sunde’s Blog Tour Wrap Up

November – to follow

Robyn Opie



Today, we’re very lucky to have Angela Sunde visiting us on her blog tour to promote her new Aussie Chomp, Pond Magic. Angela is going to give us some great tips on how to write a book that’s less than 12,000 words.

Hi, Angela and welcome:)

It’s lovely to be here today on the Tuesday Writing Tips blog. Thanks for having me.

Angela, did you have a lot of editing to do to get the exact length for an Aussie Chomp?

Yes, I sure did. My original manuscript of Pond Magic was nearly 15,000 words and the first thing the editors asked me to do was cut it back to under 12,000, which is the maximum Aussie Chomps word count.

How long is Pond Magic now?

Pond Magic is just under 12,000 words long now. The final edit stood at 11,977, so you can see that I was counting each word as I deleted it.

How did you do this?

I went to bed and tackled it in the morning. Cutting back 3,000 words from what is a relatively short manuscript can be daunting.

The first thing I did was to read through and circle or underline obvious cuts. But this didn’t work that well, as I was too familiar with the story.

So I created a table with the headings: Word count, Scene, Propels plot/themes, Develops character, Reveals world, Setting, Magic/Humour and lastly Hook. Then I systematically summarized each chapter under those headings. This showed me immediately which were the weakest chapters and where I could cut the most words.

What age group is for?

Pond Magic is ideal for 8-12 year olds; the tween market, who still laugh at slapstick humour like burping, but worry about how their peers perceive them too.

Is this the longest thing you have written?

It was the longest work I had written at the time. Since then I am close to completing a junior novel. I also enjoy writing picture books.

Was it hard writing to a specified length?

No, not really. I simply wrote the story that evolved and then cut it back. Initially I thought Pond Magic would be a lot shorter.

What do you enjoy about writing to this length?

The simplicity of the planning and the plotting and seeing the story develop quickly.

What is the hardest part about writing to this length?

Stopping at the maximum word count.

Do you have any tips about how to write a complete story to this word length – bearing in mind that many children’s books for this age group are much longer?

I would keep the number of characters down, limit the number of obstacles your main character has to overcome and write a scene list of only about fifteen scenes. This of course can be flexible.

Also, the secondary characters do not need their own sub-plot.

A book this length can’t be too complicated so can you tell us how you went about plotting your story?

I start off by mind-mapping on a large scrap of paper. In the centre bubble I write the problem and the main character. Then spreading out from there I draw bubbles which represent the consequences of this problem, obstacles to overcoming the problem and what happens if the problem gets worse (raising the stakes).

With mind maps nothing is impossible and my mind comes up with all sorts of crazy scenarios. It’s hilarious to look back on them. I also mind map some of the themes of the story, for example ‘frog’ and ‘French’. This gives me fresh ideas for developing the plot.

Some of these bubbles then become scenes. Initially I started off with ten scenes and this increased as the story developed. There are now seventeen chapters. Structurally the story is not complicated at all.

Were there parts of the story you would have liked to have kept?

No, not really. I was very careful to retain nearly all of the original humour throughout the editing process. Humour helped to propelled the plot forward and made for great hooks at the end of chapters.

When you have to cut words how do you decide what stays or goes?

Good question. I counted every word and sometimes this meant using a contraction instead of two words, or rephrasing a sentence to make it shorter.  It was like counting the hairs on a flea. (Do they have hairs?) I did cut back some scenes to the bare essentials also and I think they are better for it. It was a good lesson.

You have created really strong characters. Do you have any tips on how you created them within the confines of this word count?

Thank you. I like to give my characters what I call ‘quirks’; Maureen rubs her nose when she is lying, Lily’s mum is obsessed with all things French, Mrs Swan shuffles along in her slippers. These quirks help to fill out the characters for the reader and it’s easy to pop these in as attributive ‘dialogue’ action.

Do you have any other tips for writers interested in writing these kind of books?

If you have written a good short story lately, it may make a great opening scene for a book of this length.

Thanks for dropping in and giving us your great tips, Angela.


Thank you, Dee. I really enjoyed my visit.

You can catch Angela on tour at:

21st October – Stories Are Light – Sandy Fussell –

22nd October – Write and Read with Dale – Dale Harcombe
Review and Developing a Character

23rd October – Sally Murphy’s Writing for Children Blog
Getting Published for the First Time

24th October – Cat Up Over – Catriona Hoy
What Girls Read

24th October – Kids Book Review
Review of Pond Magic

26th October – Tuesday Writing Tips – Dee White
Writing to this Length

27th October – Kids’ Book Capers – Boomerang Books
Review and Where Story Ideas Come From

28th October – Kids Book Review
The Aussie Chomp Format

29th October – Tales I Tell – Mabel Kaplan
Promoting your First Book & Planning a Book Launch

30th October – SherylGwyther4Kids
Once upon a time in a far away place…