Sunday, March 27, 2011

What is a Paraquel?

I’ve learned something new this week and I’d like to share it with you.

Have you ever heard of a paraquel?

I hadn’t until I read The Bone Magician by F.E. Higgins. 

It seems it’s a story that takes place at the same time as another story with the same or similar characters. In this case, The Bone Magician and The Black Book of Secrets by the same author are considered paraquels. Both are middle grade novels dripping with scenery, quirky characters and mystery.

So let me put “paraquel” in its proper context among the “quels.”

We all know what a sequel is, a story that takes place later in the same imagined history of a story using many of the same characters and settings. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter comes to mind first, with his six sequels after The Sorcerer’s Stone.

A prequel is a story written or published after a certain other story, but whose events take place earlier in the same imagined history.

The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis, a story that takes place before The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe also has an inquel, that is a story that takes place during a gap in another story’s narrative.

This story is titled,  The Horse and His Boy, and it takes place in the last chapter of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

After discovering what a paraquel was I did some research and came up with two more “quels.”

A circumquel is a story that takes place partly before and partly after another story. An example of this can be found in the Star Wars series.

But, when a story is a prequel to one book, but at the same time a sequel to another, we are reading an interquel. Are you confused yet?

Here are examples of interquel -Sir J.M. Barrie, you know him, the author of Peter Pan, wrote a book called The Little White Bird, where the character of Peter Pan first appeared as a baby living on Bird Island in Kensington Gardens. Later the chapters concerning him got republished as Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. It provided Peter’s original story, but then Barrie then wrote the play, Peter Pan or the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up and he then penned the novel version, Peter and Wendy, published in 1911.

There’s a huge gap between how Peter went from being an infant on Bird Island in Kensington Gardens to being a boy fighting pirates on the Neverland isle. Therefore, a story that bridges this gap would be an interquel.

So, now do we have our "quels" in order or are you thinking: What the quel is she talking about? :)


  1. Yes, indeed. The "quel" has certainly boomed!

    Did you know that such a Peter Pan interquel has been written? As of yet it's not out yet, but you can sort of read about it here: Click! [The link is anything with that label on site]

    The author also has a 'sequel' to Pan's adventures that comes from Barrie's note for more.

    And I'm not really sure what one would call my other favorite 'other' Pan book:
    It's not really any of the 'quels' since it's more of a "What if?" that charts a new course for the story entirely. Click!

    Thanks for the explanations of the wacky 'quels' :D


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  3. Good information but did not tell what a paraquel is, told everything else.

  4. She did. "it’s a story that takes place at the same time as another story with the same or similar characters." Like Ender's Game & Ender's Shadow. (The same event occur but one is from Andrew "Ender" Wiggen's perspective and the other book tell's it from his commader Bean's perceptive.. SO FUN!)


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