So many times as I’m writing, I think, “This would be great for the sequel.” Soon, I have all this amazing material—characters, plot events, settings—that will appear. Someday. In a sequel to a book that hasn’t been published.
That’s my mistake. I need to cram all the good writing into this novel. Right here. Right now. Damn the torpedoes, we’re taking this baby down. (Okay, I got a little nautical right there.) Here’s my point: Why save amazing bits for a later book that may never materialize? No publisher or reader will want to start reading on book two. Stuff all the best and most awesome scenes into the manuscript you have now.
Case in point. Star Wars. (The one Lucas started with in the 70s). He had no idea if he’d be able to do the sequels he wanted. Heck, he barely got the financing for that movie. (This is why the actors got shares of the merchandising). If you look at the six movies as a complete story, you see this weird double take. A death star in movie six (Return of the Jedi) and a death star in movie four (A New Hope). Why?
Because the death star was such a cool concept, Lucas didn’t dare save it for a future film that might never be made. He tossed it and everything else into his first film, hoping it would pay off. It did. So then he reverted to his intended plot line and had the Empire build death star mark II.
Books are full of inconsistencies. Let the geeks argue the finer points. Heck, Lestat was a minor character in Interview with a Vampire. It wasn’t until after, when Anne Rice saw how popular he’d become, that she switched to making him the star.
Write your best stuff now. Don’t wait. Later might never come.