Sequel Lit Lesson

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Sequel Lit LessonA gravedigger is bringing Holden Caufield back from the dead.


Former gravedigger John David California, 60, is making his literary debut picking up 60 years after J.D. Salinger left off. describes 60 Years Later Coming Through the Rye as:


"As the title suggests, the book tells the story of Caulfield 60 years later when he is 76-year-old resident of a nursing home…Caulfield comes to his senses and has an overwhelming compulsion to flee. He boards a bus and embarks on a curious journey through the streets of New York and 'many poignant memories of his adulthood'." Full recap


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Odds are (judging by the title), the book is a bit of a mess. I guess readers will find out in June when the book is released. For now though, John has inspired me add some creativity to learning about literature.


To write a new story, you need to be familiar with the elements of literature, but that can often be a daunting task. If we can give students a head start, we can let them build off existing class readings or at-home favorite. 

Let’s Create a Sequel

(For younger students, you can take it one element at a time or work on this as a classroom activity)


Learning goals: 

  • Reinforce understanding of literary elements
  • Enhance students’ insight into the original literary work
  • Foster creative writing interest and abilities

Prep Questions

Original work: 


Will you keep the same setting (this includes place AND time)?

            If so, why?


             If not, what is the new time and place?


What old characters will be involved? 


Name three new characters?


Whose point-of-view will the story be told from? Is this the same as the original work?


What will the plot of the sequel be?


How will you make it different from the original?

What themes will you keep from the original?

(For example, all the Harry Potter books are about Harry and his fight against Dark Magic/Voldemort, but each book had a new villain).

Creative Writing Project – Now it’s time to write your sequel.

1.  Plan Your Plot

Sequel Lit Lesson

2. Outline All Major Action in More Detail

If the climax is a car chase, who is in the car chase?  Where is it taking place? Who is driving?  Who wins?  How do they start the race? Are a lot of people watching?

You can write these out on note cards to help organize your thoughts. 


3.  Write Your First Draft!

If you have trouble getting started, reread the opening of the original work. You can start by mirroring the author’s style until you works flow freely.

4. Read and Revise

Now that you have have a draft, does the story make sense?  What do you like about it?  What don't you like about it?

5. Polish Your Final Draft

Now that the plot is perfect, you can polish.  Check for grammar, spelling and other mistakes.  Try reading it aloud to make sure it flows smoothly.

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