I'm re-reading Hunger Games and Catching Fire this week. I love getting the next installment of a new series. But, with Mockingjay coming out just four days after Adversary, I got to thinking about a problem with book series...
How do you keep the reader's knowledge of specifics--characters, relationships, past plot developments, and/or alternate history? If you write paranormal stuff, readers also need to know about special abilities or twists on cannon. Do your vampires sparkle in sunlight rather than bursting into flames? Do your werewolves change form with ambient temperature rather than moon-cycle?
If you don't refresh their memories, readers will be confused by some of the new plot ("Who's that guy, and what on earth is he doing?"). If you give them too much of a refresher as everything starts up again, your first chapters drag.
In Adversary, I wrote a "Dear Reader" letter for the opening which gave a quick overview of the main characters, their abilities, Ganzfield, G-positives, and dodecamine. In Legacy, I've done the same, but also added a bit of information about the plot developments from the last book. I've been making final revisions this week--it goes to the editor in the first week of September. I keep wondering which way to err. Too little info might confuse people, but too much might bore them or at least make them say, "I know this already!" So, now I'm asking you:
When you read a series, do you prefer to have a lot of reminders in the opening chapters, or do you prefer to have the story pick up immediately and assume you know the details from the previous books?
Thanks again to Lea at YA Book Queen for hosting my guest post yesterday, and thanks to all of you who clicked over and said hi!
|* Image copyright Jennifer Larson, http://www.an-architecture.com/2010/04/couch-cushion-architecture.html|