New England folks! I’ll be at the Writers’ Loft tomorrow, February 25th, doing a Craft Chat on using dummies and storyboards in writing picture books, and I’ll be leading a writing workshop for teens on Wednesday at the Worcester Public Library. Hope to see you there!
Also, Husband Ray did a great “Creating an Author Website” workshop over the weekend. Here’s a recap of the event along with some useful links.
Last week, I had a great comment from Jenni Enzor about writing a series:
“Often authors summarize the previous book at the beginning or the plot is very similar to the last one. How do you avoid being repetitious?”
To answer Jenni’s question, I wanted to revisit a post I did about this topic when I was working on the second book in the Dirt Diary series:
Avoiding Info-Dump in Sequels
Ah, yes. The dreaded word: Info-dump. It’s hard to avoid overloading on backstory in any type of book because you want your readers to know All The Things as quickly as possible. The trick is finding ways to weave in vital information without slowing down the story.
In a sequel, avoiding the info-dump becomes even more challenging because you feel like you have to fill the reader in on what happened in the previous book. This is precisely what I’ll be tackling in The Prank List this week. Overall, I think the first few chapters work pretty well, but as my agent pointed out, the info about Book 1 slows thing down.
When I thought about it, I realized that readers might not need to know all that info since some of it doesn’t affect the story arc in the sequel. There are certain bits that I need to remind the reader about because it will set them up for Book 2, but there are tidbits that I could safely take out.
Taking out those tidbits makes me nervous because I’m afraid the reader isn’t being given enough about the situation, characters, etc. to really understand it, but I have faith that if I show enough in the present story, I won’t need to work in that backstory. I need to trust myself and trust my reader.
So watch out, Infodump. I’m coming for you!