Andrewbee's picture
Andrewbee from Chicago is reading some YA book, most likely January 28, 2015 - 2:34pm

In the third book in a series, is it necessary to clue the reader in on everything that's happened before, or is it safe to assume they've read the books that came before?



Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal January 29, 2015 - 9:20pm

i've noticed a lot of authors hedge- maybe moreso in YA (?). they mostly assume they read the last one , but kind of give some hints just in case.

personally, i'd prefer they assume they already read it.

then again, maybe those vague hints are just reminders for the people who buy the hardcovers on release day and wait a year plus for the next one? 

Carly Berg's picture
Carly Berg from USA is reading Story Prompts That Work by Carly Berg is now available at Amazon January 29, 2015 - 10:20pm

I think that each book should be able to stand on its own and make sense, so whatever you'd have to do for that imo.

Bradley Sands's picture
Bradley Sands from Boston is reading Greil Marcus's The History of Rock 'N' Roll in Ten Songs February 14, 2015 - 3:47am

Cluing the reader in on everything that has happened is no good, but a summary of a few pages at the beginning of the book could work well. New readers can use it to catch up and old readers can either skip it or use it to refresh their memory.

WilliamJohnson's picture
WilliamJohnson March 25, 2015 - 2:16am

Like what Bradley was said, I would like to suggest you to have a summary of both books as the first two pages. It can be simple and just having a clue of what happened in those books. It will benefit you to make the one who is first to your book to get interested to the third in serious, even though they didn't read the previous books.


Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal March 26, 2015 - 5:55pm

"Previously, in..."

Something makes me think that they'd be skipped over like people skip over prologues in the old fantasy books.

mickey's picture
mickey from Virginia is reading The Story of O April 8, 2015 - 2:22pm

I faced this issue with my series. It's a four-book story. Not four stories in a series. It's an epic fantasy of fast moving excitement. To pause the flow of a battle or horse chase or whatever, in order to remind the reader why the main characters are doing what they are doing (covered in a previous book) is more distracting than helpful ... in my opinion. In Inheritance, the fouth dragon book in the series, there is a long list of statements intended to remind the readers what has happened. In a fantasy series like this, the list is overwhelming ... to the point I just ignored it.

Personally, as a reader, I know better than to start a series in the middle. There is a reason it's a series and as a reader, I want the full experience.

So ... if you want to remind the readers, give them a summary at the start so they can skip it and not be distracted and pulled from the flow with a reminder of what happened in a  previous portion of the story. Flash backs that add-value and would be there no matter the series, keep those.