Monday, July 23, 2018

Straight From the Mouth of Michael Okon

Writing a sequel
Someone just told me recently that sequels are poison. They said that you never capture the magic of the first story.  I only agree with half of this. Yes, most sequels, I will put it bluntly, suck. The gelling you had in the first story never gets it right in the sequel. I just watched Kung Fu Panda 1, 2, and 3 with my kids – not by myself. The first one was a masterpiece. I was so invested in the characters and story. It was truly a brilliant film. Then we continued in parts 2 and 3, and I just couldn’t take it. They continued the story of Poe the Kung Fu Panda, but the story simply fell flat, and tiresome. I didn’t care about the characters. The stories were boring, unlike the first film.  But then, on the flip side, let’s take Lord of the Rings. My all-time favorite trilogy of book & movie. I was invested in the characters throughout. This was not the case at all about the first story being amazing and the other two being terrible. All three stories were flawless and gelled together beautifully. There were setbacks.  There was resolution. There was catharsis. It was flawless.

When you’re writing a sequel, you want to continue the magic of the first, but set the characters in a new environment and give them bigger and worse obstacles to overcome. The battle in The Fellowship of the Ring was pretty intense. But set the same characters and put them in Helm’s Deep in The Two Towers, and BAM! You elevated the storytelling.

I did this in Monsterland.  In the first book we have Wyatt, Howard Drucker and Melvin navigating a theme park gone haywire with real werewolves, vampires, and zombies. However, in the sequel Monsterland Reanimated, the teens have to defeat an army of mummies during a speeding car chase, a life-sucking ooze called The Glob in a desolate town, and a reanimated behemoth in a hedge maze (thank you for the inspiration Stanley Kubrick). Sequels are all about elevation and making the enemies bigger and badder. The bigger the obstacle, the bigger the reward for your characters. They have to come out changed in a sequel. They cannot come out unscathed. Frodo lost a finger trying to throw the ring into Mount Doom. Characters must get hurt so they can change.

I’m currently working on Monsterland 3, and I’m going even bigger. I will not succumb to the notion that writing a sequel is poison. From the words of Tony Robbins, success leaves clues. I am following in the footsteps of the master storytellers who can weave a story together in a sequel – that doesn’t suck.

Series: Monsterland Series, Book 2
Publisher: WordFire Press (April 6, 2018)
Genre:  YA Fiction/Monsters/Thriller
ISBN-10: 1614756724
ISBN-13: 978-1614756729
Buy: Amazon, Kindle, IndieBound, The Book Depository
After Monsterland has imploded, the entire world is thrown into chaos. World leadership is gone, economies have collapsed, and communications are non-existent. Wyatt must go beyond the boundaries of his small town to reestablish contact with the outside world, and alert the government about a traitor-in-chief.

During his journey he discovers a new threat released from the bowels of the defunct theme park.
When an army of relentless mummies, a life-sucking ooze called The Glob, and a hybrid reanimated Behemoth rise from the depths of Monsterland, who will survive?

Michael Okon is an award-winning and best-selling author of multiple genres including paranormal, thriller, horror, action/adventure and self-help. He graduated from Long Island University with a degree in English, and then later received his MBA in business and finance. Coming from a family of writers, he has storytelling in his DNA. Michael has been writing from as far back as he can remember, his inspiration being his love for films and their impact on his life. From the time he saw The Goonies, he was hooked on the idea of entertaining people through unforgettable characters.
Michael is a lifelong movie buff, a music playlist aficionado, and a sucker for self-help books. He lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wife and children.

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