One could say that War of Nytefall is a loose prequel to Legends of Windemere. It’s pretty easy to say since it’s true. They take place in the same world with the same races, magic system, and many shared cities. There may even be a cameo or two from familiar faces that can survive the centuries. It creates a bigger web of world-building and opens up more of Windemere for other stories. The foundation has grown wider and higher, but there are risks.
First, one runs into a problem with readers thinking they have to read the first series to get into the second. This isn’t true since they are separate stories that happen to take place in the same world. You can follow the adventures of Clyde without knowing about the adventures of Luke Callindor. Yet, many readers will see this and get confused about how they fit together. Some may think this takes place afterwards too, which will hurt the story and result in people asking if Nyx will make an appearance (got this one already). There really isn’t much you can do either because pushing them apart too much will make the stories feel like they aren’t supposed to be together. You need to find a balance and simply hope that it carries over.
Second risk is the threat of ruining the continuity. We’ve see it a lot in movies where you get prequels and they undo parts of the original. The pieces don’t always match up like Legolas meeting Bilbo and the dwarves in ‘The Hobbit’. He never told Frodo that he met his uncle or Gimli that he knew his father. There wasn’t even a sense of familiarity when they were meeting to discuss The One Ring in LOTR. The reason is because nobody knew ‘The Hobbit’ was going to come and have Legolas, which means there was nothing set up for the crossover. I’m actually going to be posting tips for doing prequels on Wednesday, so I won’t go into details here.
Third risk . . . Well, the continuity thing covers a lot of ground. You could end up making a prequel that causes the original work to become impossible or non-canon. You could make the prequels so mild that they hold absolutely no weigh to the overall world. The risks and challenges are so numerous, but they’re also oddly subtle. You don’t see these issues happening while writing the newer series unless you keep going back to the original or do an outline that specifically focuses on continuity. I did my best with that to make sure I didn’t ruin cities that I used in Legends of Windemere. In fact, I did my best to minimize the use of them, but that isn’t easy when you have such large metropolises like Gaia and Gods’ Voice. Needless to say, this aspect of a new, but connected series is fairly nerve-wracking.
So, let’s open up the floor to thoughts. What do people think about prequels? Keep in mind, I don’t mean the Star Wars prequels specifically. I’m talking any like ‘The Hobbit’, Young Indiana Jones, etc.