Should you reread Book 1 before writing Book? This might sound like a silly question, but I must admit that I hate rereading my books once they’re finished. I’m always afraid I’ll find a huge error or a scene that doesn’t work. Of course, avoiding rereading my books can be difficult when I’m working on a series.
So my answer is YES, you do need to reread your first book; in fact, I think you should reread it more than once.
Before I start drafting a new book in a series, I usually go back and read the previous one. But last week as I was revising THE GOSSIP FILE, the third book in the Dirt Diary series, my publisher sent me the final page proofs for THE PRANK LIST, so I had to read the book yet again. And I’m glad I did because it helped me with the following elements of my revision:
Pacing – After seeing the pacing of Book 2, I realized that Book 3 needed to be much tighter at the beginning to match it.
Continuity – This is an obvious one. You want to make sure that what happens in Book 3 makes sense with what happened in Book 2. I realized that there was a housing issue mentioned at the end of THE PRANK LIST that hadn’t been addressed in THE GOSSIP FILE, so that’s something I’ll need to address.
Consistency – As I was rereading Book 3, I made the discovery that I’d written “Booger Crap” as “Boogercrap.” Shocking, I know! Thank goodness I realized this before it was too late.
Voice – Even though I reread THE PRANK LIST before drafting THE GOSSIP FILE to get a feel for the voice, going through the second book again got me even more firmly into the character.
Story Structure – In the first two Dirt Diary books I tried to make all the plot threads feel intertwined. After rereading the second book, I realized that’s something I need to keep working on in Book 3.
So there you have it. All the reasons that I (grudgingly) acknowledge that rereading your books multiple times is essential! I’m happy to report that I didn’t find any huge errors or flat scenes in Book 2, so maybe that means I’m learning to let things go.