Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - On Writing Series Information dumps plus book on pre-order

Avoiding information dumps is a must when writing a series. Having read a number of series, I know this sort of prologue that comes before a new book in the series can become annoying, especially when the book is five or six in the series and the information given becomes a dump. I've read series where the same prologue is used to open each book and frankly, I skip them. So will most of the readers.

Yes, it's important when writing a series to let the reader know what's happened before but there are ways to do this a bit at a time. A character's memory, a bit of dialogue, even a paragraph or two at the beginning that shows the underlying theme of the story. I've done this with a single sentence that opens a story. I've had the characters tell the story in dialogue to show what went before. But it's also important to let the characters know the story stands on its own with perhaps a hint about what's to come in the next book.

The next time you're thinking about doing a synopsis of each story in the previous books in the series, think again. Boring the reader before they start the story is a sure way to lose readers.

1 comment:

E. Ayers said...

I've never done that on my River City books but I often worry when I bring a character back, if the new reader even knows who that person is. I try not to spring a character on the reader out of nowhere on page sixty-five. But providing that clue is darn hard in some instances. Sometimes the most I do is say 'my friend, her husband works with mine' and let it go. I want people to just be able to jump into a story and not worry about all the past details. But my series doesn't build on the previous story.