“This needs a sequel!”
It’s a comment that shows up from time to time here on ficly. Initially, my response has always been to bristle at the sentiment. Mostly, this is due to my own defiant and contrary nature. If you want a sequel, I would think, you write one. You can’t tell me what to do!
Now that I think of it, however, I have come to the conclusion that this is one of the highest compliments one can pay to an author. Rather than seeing it as a demand, I’ve come to view it as indicative of something very positive that has gone on. The story, however brief, has engaged the reader on some level, whether intellectual curiosity or emotional attachment. This engagement creates the desire for the story to continue, a curiosity to see what will develop next and how.
On ficly, this is a hoot. It gives the author license to sequel their own work or (my preference) provides impetus for another author to jump on with a continuation. More importantly however, the principle can easily generalize to lengthier work outside of ficly. If you can encapsulate enough in this small space to get that kind of engagement you can do the same thing elsewhere. Here it means they want a sequel. Out there it means they’ll actually read the second page. Whether you’ve written a 5 page short story or a 500 page tome, the reader has to have sufficient connection to the material to compel them to read that next page.
To put it in simpler terms, pack it in there, and leave them wanting more.