I’ve noticed that everyone seems to be writing series these days. They’re not anything new, but seem to be picking up traction. Or maybe it just feels that way because I’m working on Book Two of a series after having written several stand-alone novels.
Yesterday, members of my critique group, especially the member who was not in the group for the critique of Blue Heaven, kept asking questions about things I’d explained in the first book. And I found myself saying that I had “covered that in the first book.” After a few of those type of phrases, I realized, oh, I have to tell it all over again. Every time. Every book in the series.
Each book must be able to stand alone. I am a reader and there is nothing worse for me that picking up a book mid-series and finding awkward clues that some person or place has been previously covered. There’s a trick to inserting series info. It has to flow naturally from the current book. No person or place should be in the current book as just a wink to loyal series readers. That just annoys me.
But I know this, too–there’s always the obligatory explaining, the need to go over the broad strokes of the series’ core people and places. Once I write it, very little will have to be changed book to book. Where I place that core info is key.
Last week I threw out 30 pages. Now I need to add a few.
Sure, my editor would have told me that. But it’s much better that she doesn’t have to. Which is why I so dearly love my critique group.