For some years, I’ve been asked by numerous readers about a possible sequel to Twenty-Five at the Lip, and I’ve always begged off the question. I wasn’t sure that my original piece was good enough to even warrant its own publication – never mind a sequel.
It was during my interview with G from The EMS Lounge that I sort of had to answer the question about a sequel. I had developed some ideas about what a sequel might look like, and I was a bit shocked to admit to myself that I wasn’t entirely sure that the plot would hold water. The worst thing that an author (or director) can do is make a sub-par sophomore effort. We all think we’re making The Godfather, Part II, but really we’re making The Lost World.
I did my best to tie up all the loose ends I could in the original. While I downgraded Ashley Barnes as a major character, I gave her a novel all of her own in Just Say Maybe. In Bright Lights and Cold Steel, I gave some of the backgrounds of Richard Henry, John Davis, and Frank Macomber. But it was while I was writing Bright Lights that I realized I missed writing EMS stuff. Like, a lot.
Characters like Calvin, Valerie, Carley, and Jeremy are actually challenging to write. There was lots of groundwork to lay for them, and they evolved immensely over the course of seven years. Especially Carley. Let me tell you, she underwent the biggest changes. They were all by most precious creations, and the last thing I wanted to do was give them a bad reappearance.
Over NaNoWriMo 2016 I decided to throw down the first 50K words of a Twenty-Five at the Lip sequel, called Last of the White Knights. I messaged my friend Alyssa and asked if she wouldn’t mind being a model for Valerie the way that Lisa was for Snuffy. Yes, Valerie is in the sequel; no other spoilers, though.
What I’m finding in writing the Twenty-Five sequel is that it’s coming along very much the same way that the original did. The original was actually written totally out of order. The only thing I actually made sure I did was to write that last chapter last. Everything else was written with the plot entirely in my head when I wanted to write them. In truth, Twenty-Five at the Lip was essentially written as a bunch of short stories, which is appropriate considering how it is somewhat auto-biographical.
Last of the White Knights is a bit lighter than Twenty-Five at the Lip was. This might be the result of a story that is heavily Carley based, as opposed to the original which focused on Calvin, Jeremy, and Valerie existing in rather desperate straights. Carley is having some difficulties, but not the sort that the big three dealt with in the original. It’s also got plenty of Carly-isms which also help to lighten the storyline and allow her to navigate her problems as only she can. Set two years after the events in Twenty-Five at the Lip we get to see into Carley’s father’s family, as well as Jeremy’s, and what’s gone on with Valerie since we last left her.
Twenty-Five at the Lip had about 123K words and the way it looks now Last of the White Knights will also have that. I don’t think I should write less, and there is plenty of material in my head now to make a story that rivals the original. I just hope the fanbase likes it.
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