Wednesday, December 14, 2011

OK, readers and writers alike, I need your help.
I have finally started writing Button Box mystery #3 (tentatively titled Panic Button) and as usual when I begin a book, I’m walking a crazy tightrope. What to tell. What not to tell. How much background to give away. How much to tell about the books that have come before.
Back when I was writing romance, this was never a problem. Each book was a stand-alone and while some characters might recur from book to book (I did a series of books like this for Harlequin American), each story and each romance was independent.
Not so with mysteries.
So far, I’ve written five books in the Cooking Class series, nine in the Pepper Martin series and like I said, this is the third for the button series.
And each time, I find myself asking the same question. How do I get into the book, provide the background I need and at the same time, hook new readers but not make the ones who’ve already read the other books roll their eyes?
That’s why I’m asking for your help.
When you read series books, what do you like to see? Do you like fairly detailed recaps of the stories that have gone before, or just hints? Do you need a refresher about who’s who and what’s what in characters lives, or would you rather learn all that stuff new in each book?
There’s a fine line between background and boring. I need your help to figure out where it is.

6 comments:

Blodeuedd said...

Not a fan of what has happened before, they tend to annoy me, but a quick re.cap is ok

Bev said...

A quick recap is nice since it's usually a while between books.

SandyG265 said...

I don't mind either a quick recap or references to key past happenings as part of the story. But too much past detail gets annoying if I've read the rest of the series.

Casey said...

Thank you all for your input! Will certainly keep it in mind, and hope I can live up to it!

Shirley Damsgaard said...

This is a real dilemma and one I wrestled with, too!! I always wanted to show character growth in each preceeding book, but to me, growth is caused by events in our lives. So how do you show that growth without mentioning the event??? I usually tried to do it by an off-handed remark in the dialogue without getting too specific.

Good luck--I have every confidence in you!!!

Sharon said...

I like a recap too, since it has usually been a year since the last book. I like it to be worked into the story. If this were someone's real life they would talk about events especially if they were exciting or dramatic. Most books kind of pick up not long (time frame wise) after the last one ended so they characters would still be dealing with the consequences of the last book. Not sure I explained that well .