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Writing Process & Programs > How do you avoid info dump in sequels?

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message 1: by M.J. (new)

M.J. Fleming (mjflemingbooks) | 26 comments I'm currently writing the second book in what may be a duopoly or a trilogy I'm not sure yet. I've got the first third of the book done I don't think I'm info dumping but honestly who knows at this point. What are some good rules of thumb you all have used to avoid this. I've got beta readers (2) who will read the book for me. One that read the first book and another one that hasn't so I can get both points of view.


message 2: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4307 comments Mod
The beta readers will definitely help you determine if you have too much "info dumping" or not enough. I would suggest finding at least two more.

Also, if you're concerned that the info dumping might put off those who have read your first book and don't really need to be reminded of everything that happened, you could write it all up in a synopsis that could be skipped at the reader's discretion.

As you're working on the book, ask yourself, "Do I really need to re-explain this? Am I putting in too much detail about that?"

You could also spread out the info through the novel, bringing up events from the first when it's absolutely necessary to know about it, rather than cramming it all into one place.

Just a few ideas off the top of my head. I don't do series or sequels (not in the way they're usually done), so hopefully you'll get some more advice from those who have been there.


message 3: by Peter (new)

Peter Martuneac | 97 comments I think "I'll know it when I see it" is the best rule of thumb for this issue haha. It's kind of hard to quantify, I think.


message 4: by Belle (new)

Belle Blackburn | 11 comments I just tried to do it a little at a time, so a sprinkle instead of a dump. There was one spot in my second one when I needed to remind people who the characters in the family were and that was the biggest challenge. I just had her go down to the breakfast table and speak (in her head) a few lines about each one there. That was the biggest dump. Otherwise, I just put light reminders here and there when necessary.


message 5: by L.K. (new)

L.K. Chapman | 147 comments Dwayne wrote: "You could also spread out the info through the novel, bringing up events from the first when it's absolutely necessary to know about it, rather than cramming it all into one place.."

That's how I tried to approach it for my psychological thriller trilogy that I completed earlier this year- reminding readers of the first book when it was essential and trying to spread the information out. There were some places where reminding readers of the first book came up naturally as the 2nd and 3rd books had some new characters in that my main character would speak to about the events in the first book. This wasn't her just delivering information though, as she was still affected by the trauma she'd been through and trying to make sense of what had happened to her, and I think her process of her moving on and trying to understand the past was interesting in itself. I can't think of any places where I dumped a large amount of information into the story - it wasn't really necessary, but I can imagine for some other genres it might be trickier!

I think having a short summary of the first book at the beginning of the second is worth considering if you have a lot of information that readers really do need to know straight away.


message 6: by L.K. (last edited Sep 19, 2019 07:35AM) (new)

L.K. Chapman | 147 comments M.J. wrote: "I don't think I'm info dumping but honestly who knows at this point..."

If you don't feel like you're info dumping, that may well be because you're not, and you've got the balance right :)

It sounds like it will be really helpful to take a break from the book once it's finished and see what your beta readers feel, and maybe once you've had a bit of distance from your book you'll be able to read it again and see if you still feel comfortable with it, and also use any feedback from your beta readers.

Good luck!


message 7: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1103 comments Start with interesting new details, perspective, so the story feels fresh and is moving forward; don't get bogged down explaining the first book.


message 8: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 335 comments What I try to do is start with some sort of problem scene. The setting of the scene allows some background info, and then as the problem is introduced more background can filter in. That way you can hold interest through the action/conversation and allow the reader to drift into the story. It is a problem, but remember it is not important to cover everything that has happened before; merely that which is important for what is coming in the immediate future of the story. If they want more details, they can always read the earlier ones. The most important thing is to keep the story moving.


message 9: by Eldon, Lost on the road to Mordor (new)

Eldon Farrell | 362 comments Mod
Ian wrote: "What I try to do is start with some sort of problem scene. The setting of the scene allows some background info, and then as the problem is introduced more background can filter in. That way you ca..."

I just faced this very problem with my second serial book. How much is too much, right? Honestly though, I think Ian nailed it on the head. It just needs to hook the readers :)


message 10: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4307 comments Mod
I think if I ever decide to do a series in the sense most people mean series these days, I'd probably study a couple of popular series to see how the author handled the second book, third book, etc.


message 11: by Ian (new)

Ian Bott (iansbott) | 263 comments My last book was a sequel to my first. I tried as much as possible to write it as if it were a standalone novel and the previous novel was simply part of the backstory. My thinking is that for a standalone novel we (likely) all have loads of backstory and worldbuilding, and will face exactly the same issue of what to include, what not to include, and how to avoid infodumping. We will be looking for ways to introduce the essentials deftly, without bogging things down. IMO a sequel is no different.

Of course it all depends how much of the first story is directly important to understanding the second. In my case, the context was new, so it wasn't a direct carry-forward, and I looked for ways to refer to previous events obliquely and always from the perspective of how they affect current events.


message 12: by M.J. (new)

M.J. Fleming (mjflemingbooks) | 26 comments These are all great points/strategies. Thanks everyone


message 13: by Xanxa (new)

Xanxa | 39 comments I write fantasy so info-dumping is far more prevalent within the genre than in other types of fiction. I usually try to cheat when I have to dump. I do a lot of it in dialogue or by having an ingenue character making mistakes and finding things out the hard way.

In my latest WIP, I've made a mockery of an info-dump. It's in dialogue, whereby a young boy is helping a visitor and the boy babbles to the visitor. The visitor actually says "Too much information!" So I'm using mocking comedy to highlight the info-dump, like saying "We all know it's an info-dump, so get over it!" Alpha readers have said they like the idea, but I know it will only work once.


message 14: by Jen (new)

Jen Fritz (jen_fritz) | 1 comments Janet Evanovich does a great job peppering background info into her Stephanie Plum series. Within the first couple of chapters of a sequel you learn all you really need to know about the character.


message 15: by Deborah (new)

Deborah Lagarde (deb_lagarde) | 78 comments Someone complained about this with my trilogy (The Prodigal Band Trilogy) since all of the trilogy books pretty much start the same way (all three open in the spiritual realm) but dang it, if you have to include some "info dump" since it is too damned important to include, then do it. Whether you are new to authorship or have been doing it for years only you know whether or not info has to be regurgitated in other follow-up books or not. Just don't get carried away with it. Only include what must be included. When I had to re-type the first two books for e-book purposes (since the first two where published in late 90s before I had internet) I did leave out some regurgitations and left out a lot redoing the third book to complete the three-books-in-one. Only you know...readers come in all shapes and sizes and some just will complain no matter what you do


message 16: by B.A. (new)

B.A. A. Mealer | 839 comments Margie Lawson will tell you:
Write your backstory and highlight what you believe the reader absolutely needs to know in order to understand you story. Now, Is all of it important? Does it move the story forward? Can any of the history be eliminated, Is there any facts the readers really doesn't need to know to understand the story? (The who cares? factor)
Put what is left into bullet points and print it out, Imagine it is printed on glass. Go to that imaginary stone patio and drop that glass with the bullet points on it. Now pick up the shards and slivers with the bullet points on them one at a time and put them in various places within the first 100 pages of your story. You are not allowed to put more than one sliver or shard in at a time, so no chunks allowed. That will prevent the information dump and you'll be putting in only the absolutely necessary facts in little pieces.


message 17: by Anne (new)

Anne Schlea | 41 comments I look at how I'm referring to action from the previous books. If it's more than a sentence or two, I consider it a dump and rework it.

For example, I don't need to spend two paragraphs explaining the sibling relationship between Damian and Antonia. Instead, I can simply say, "Damian, whom Antonia recently discovered is her brother, ...." If my reader wants to know more, they can go to my webpage, see the relationship, and then go back to the first book. The idea is always to get someone who picks up the second book first to go back. Give them a taste, but leave them the main story.


message 18: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 335 comments Yes, but it depends on how complicated the issue is. Discovering a brother is a simple understandable fact - people have brothers and the only mystery is why he had to be discovered. Sometimes you have to be a bit more expansive, and how much is a more tricky question.

As an example, from the second book in my "First Contact" trilogy, I got over the issue that there had been contact with aliens, and where, by having a protagonist drive up to his base in Hellas Planitia (thus providing a setting) and having to sneak in during the night (thus introducing the concept that this had to be secretive) to hide some artefacts. This sneaking in allowed a little action describe the background. Then to get the nature of where the aliens were, I had said protagonist engage in a "leg-pull" in a cafeteria conversation the next day, I introduced another new protagonist later (and initiated a small romance subplot by having a young scientist see through the background of the leg-pull) following a meeting to discuss the settlement's attitude to a new meeting to take place soon that would settle the political future of Mars, which in turn introduces a further subplot, plus some background about martian settlement. None of that could be done in one sentence, but if you sneak it in with new material, I like to think I made it interesting.


message 19: by M.J. (new)

M.J. Parker | 14 comments M.J. wrote: "I'm currently writing the second book in what may be a duopoly or a trilogy I'm not sure yet. I've got the first third of the book done I don't think I'm info dumping but honestly who knows at this..."

I'm on book 3 of my series. In book 2, I introduced characters slowly in line with many of the comments here (which as a brand new author, were invaluable, thanks). In my early draft of book 3, it feels like the problem compounds and I feel the urge to do something different. Will my readers from book 1 and 2 (if I ever get any) think, here she goes again? Almost certainly not, of course, and I should stick with the formula. But in my first cut of 3, I had a great reason for all of the main characters to attend a meeting and so introduced them all in one go. It's an info dump, but seems to work. At least in my head. One of my two beta readers said it flowed OK, and the other said it was ok, but a bit early in the book and slowed the momentum. I suspect in a later draft I will chicken out and go 'formula,' but I thought I would share the idea.


message 20: by W. (new)

W. Boutwell | 157 comments It's tough particularly with an ongoing story arc. In my third book I kind of embraced the darkness. I had a minor character from the first book tell a bedtime story to a gaggle of children, dumping all the data


message 21: by Angela (new)

Angela Joseph | 132 comments I think introducing them slowly is okay but you still have to find a way to allude to what their roles were in the previous book, if it is as W said an ongoing story arc. In my second book I introduced four of the main characters during a wedding rehearsal. Then I had the main character tell her sister that she was thinking of confessing to her crime she'd committed in the first book. She did this in the first chapter, which set the opening for what was to follow.


message 22: by Xanxa (new)

Xanxa | 39 comments I do a lot of my dumping via dialogue. The teacher/student method works well in many situations, as does the foreigner trying to understand a new culture. I break it up by having the student or visitor asking questions or becoming confused.


message 23: by Anne (new)

Anne Schlea | 41 comments Ian wrote: "Yes, but it depends on how complicated the issue is. Discovering a brother is a simple understandable fact - people have brothers and the only mystery is why he had to be discovered. Sometimes you ..."

Very good point.


message 24: by Nalini (new)

Nalini Warriar | 7 comments Looks like you need to take a break and come back after doing something unrelated to writing. Then find a writer you admire and examine why you like the writing so much. How do they avoid info dumps? Beta readers who read your genre can help too. Pick someone who reads a lot.
Best of luck!


message 25: by Bruno (new)

Bruno Stella (brunostella) | 49 comments I write a short synopsis of the previous story in a "story so far" section which is a a couple of paragraphs long outlining the salient action. I feel it's enough to lead the reader in and then everything else falls naturally into place.


message 26: by Anne (new)

Anne Schlea | 41 comments Bruno wrote: "I write a short synopsis of the previous story in a "story so far" section which is a a couple of paragraphs long outlining the salient action. I feel it's enough to lead the reader in and then eve..."

I like that "the story so far." Sounds like the beginning of a Star Wars movie.


message 27: by C.M. (new)

C.M. Rosens | 3 comments Angela wrote: "I think introducing them slowly is okay but you still have to find a way to allude to what their roles were in the previous book, if it is as W said an ongoing story arc. In my second book I introd..."

This is a good technique: I'm trying it out in my current wip which is a chronological follow-on to my first novel, with some cross-over characters. I want all the stories to be standalone novels as they are linked by location (with some cross-over chars, linked histories and timelines), but when something MAJOR happens in one book that leaves me with an infodump problem in another one.

I'm trying out using a different POV character when there are 'cross-over characters' from a previous story in a scene, and getting them to figure out and infer what's happened. I've also used the Newspaper Headline link, for events that aren't directly referenced but necessary for some context.

The use of an outside character is good for showing/telling balance, as they can ask questions but also observe actions and interactions that they [and the reader] can extrapolate info from. If you're doing multiple POVs, you can then switch back to the original cross-over character's POV to reveal to the reader whether the new character was correct or not.

I don't know if this makes sense?

I think it depends entirely on how you're writing it, what info is required (about a relationship or an event/inciting incident) and how much of it is directly relevant to the story. It could be that you can just leave Easter eggs for return readers, and barely any info from the previous book is actually **necessary** for the current one. OTOH if literally all of it is plot- and character development-relevant for the current book... then Bruno's "story so far" approach seems like a good succinct way to go!!?


message 28: by W. (new)

W. Boutwell | 157 comments I have used a bedtime story as a prologue.
At some distant time in the future from the actions of the story I have a gaggle of children being told the story of their country by one of the minor characters of the first book to the greatgrandchildren of the major protagonists. It is brief and highly colored by the kids' relationships, the memories of the narrator, the ongoing struggle of children to hear a story they know by heart from an old man they love, and his fake outrage when he suspects they are just trying to delay bedtime. All the important data gets in there but primarily it shows the love between the generations which is a major point to the tale


message 29: by Belle (new)

Belle Blackburn | 11 comments I did this as a prologue in my first book, then let the details unfold with the story:

SUICIDE ON SUMMER STREET!

A horrible scene of great calamity was beheld last night such as has never been witnessed amongst the august homes of upper Summer Street. Mr. James Rayburn of 62 Summer Street received an unexpected visitor in the form of a Mr. Brian Seaver. For unknown reasons, Mr. Seaver entered the Rayburn home, whereupon he horrified Mr. and Mrs. Rayburn by firing a fatal shot into his own chest. He ran outside to his waiting daughter, Miss Kate Seaver, before expiring in her arms. A great crowd was drawn to the dreadful bloody scene, where Miss Seaver was observed to berate the victims, Mr. and Mrs. Rayburn. Mr. Seaver and his daughter were residents of the community of Peony, south of Nashville. It is unknown what their business was in Nashville.…Nashville Republican Banner, May 16, 1860


message 30: by Leah (new)

Leah Reise | 350 comments Just don’t say, “As I said in the last book....” jk


message 31: by Phillip (new)

Phillip Murrell | 367 comments Leah wrote: "Just don’t say, “As I said in the last book....” jk"

That's the working title of my next sequel. Back to the drawing board.


message 32: by Michael (new)

Michael Dirubio | 5 comments One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was to put the info dump material in a different color type. That highlights just how much material you are looking at. For me more than one or two pages is way too much. It also depends on the genre and where in the manuscript you are. Nothing past chapter two or three. If it is beyond that, then it has to be essential to the story. Essential as in the reader is totally lost without it. Also you have to be aware of genre. High fantasy and sci fi almost demand extensive info dumps. One of the cliched ways to do this is to put your characters in a school or training situation and explain what you need to. That way the reader finds out with the characters. Think what jk Rowling did with Harry Potter. We learned the rules and history of magic right along with the main trio. Then in the sequels she just alluded to past events without real explanations until we had to know about them. But in a classic space opera, you need to layout the universe and the history right away. A lot of them give a quick synopsis of the future right at the beginning. Two or three pages to explain how the goods guys got to where they are versus the bad guys. One classic example is how George Lucas starts the Star Wars movies... " it is a dark time for the rebellion......" pure info dump that might have no place in a romance novel. I steal my techniques from the best! The other thing I will say is this: you want to be somewhere between Steven King - one full chapter on the sewer system of Derry Mainein The Stand and Robert Heinline- zero back story in his sci fi. Hope that helps.


message 33: by Phillip (new)

Phillip Murrell | 367 comments Although not for a sequel, with my current WIP I'm trying a different method. It's a military sci-fi. When I'm not using a chapter with one of my POV characters, I write a special bonus chapter with a specific scene. It will always use new characters and show how they fight the war. It allows me to have the soldiers talk about their world (or that of the enemy) and thereby give details of the Pada System. I think it works, but I wonder if any of you would be annoyed to learn a new character just for one chapter. I get a fair bit of foreshadowing for the main characters and exposition in there, but they also often have action. I like a lot of action in my stories. What do you think?


message 34: by Peter (new)

Peter Martuneac | 97 comments If you’re going to introduce a character for just one chapter Phillip I’d try to do it without naming them. Me personally, if I’m reading a book and a new character is named in a new chapter and I never see him again, my thought would be the author forgot about him. Unless you can give them their own super short story contained within the chapter, in which it’s clear he’s not coming back later.


message 35: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1103 comments It's hard to say without actually reading it, but off the top, it sounds more like the author dropping in to partake in his own story. One problem is if the new character does his/her job, I may want to hear more from them (which I won't if they are making only one appearance), and yes, that is annoying.

Is there a reason to have this commentator change with each scene? If not, you might consider the same person.

The graphic novel Andre the Giant, for example, has comments from different sources and one consistent commentator is Hulk Hogan. It works, and works very well, because for one, it's a graphic novel with intersecting parts and it's just cool. It's visual of course so it has a perfect set up built in. And, since I like Andre and Hogan too, it was fun.

Without reading your story, again first impression, it sounds kind of scattered. However, if it jumps fast from place to place, it may work, especially if you can include a few visuals! :) It all depends on how it's done.


message 36: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1103 comments I'll take a look at that. I'm not familiar with it.

But another example of breaking a story up with short scenes is The Stand, Stephen King. He has lots of related type scenes of the chaos going on, like one page or so, but he also gets the reader very invested in the main characters first. He really drains an establishing character's appearance so the reader gets to know who it is, and then he drops into what is happening someplace else. Lots of characters in that one. Changing scenes does fill out the story and give a really big picture. So, yeah, it can work. I want to see the cover.


message 37: by G.R. (new)

G.R. Paskoff (grpaskoff) | 29 comments I don't think info dumping from previous books is all that necessary anymore, unless it is just to remind the reader about a character or event that may not have been referenced in a while in the continuing story. But figuring out creative ways to "summarize" the previous events from earlier books. Forget it.

This was more necessary in the old days, when you wanted to read a (perhaps older) series and you had to go from store to store hoping to find the books that filled in the gaps of what you could locate. Authors had to provide that type of backstory info dump because it wasn't always possible or likely that readers would collect all of the books. Now with retailers like Amazon and with e-books it is extremely easy for people to get the first book(s) of a series and read them in order.

I would only use backstory info dumping where absolutely necessary, and as sparingly as possible. Most readers are smart enough to figure out when the author is synopsizing the previous book(s) because the monologue or dialogue is awkward.


message 38: by M.L. (last edited Apr 24, 2020 12:14PM) (new)

M.L. | 1103 comments Phillip wrote: "Although not for a sequel, with my current WIP I'm trying a different method. It's a military sci-fi. When I'm not using a chapter with one of my POV characters, I write a special bonus chapter wit..."

The example was Chuck Wendig's Aftermath. Okay, I quickly looked at it. Yes, there's a market for the style, which is obvious because he's selling a lot. He also has the cachet of being part of Star Wars, so he's got a foot up there. For me it reads too much like a modified screenplay, but there are many who like the direct action. Sure, it could definitely work.


message 39: by B.A. (new)

B.A. A. Mealer | 839 comments To avoid an info dump, slide little slivers in be it in thought, conversations (remember it would be something both parties would know) a quick flash back or a simple reverence to what the reader needs to know.

I find that I like the series where they write each book as a stand alone where you get what you need about the character without backstory other than when it's something extremely important.

Good examples, the Jack Reacher book, the Bellador series by Diana Love, The Fallau files by Mike Gomes. They all give you a feel for the main characters without info dumps.


message 40: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 335 comments Sometimes you need to have some backstory. I have a series of five books that is in some ways a quest, so it is necessary to remind the reader or inform new readers what the quest is, since a given book, apart from the overall quest, is a self-contained story. I think it is important to bleed it in, though, and not simply dump it. I suppose an alternative might be some short introductory section flagged as ignorable if you have read the previous book. What does anyone think of that? (I haven't tried it.)


message 41: by Valerie (new)

Valerie Sells | 106 comments Ian wrote: "I suppose an alternative might be some short introductory section flagged as ignorable if you have read the previous book. What does anyone think of that? (I haven't tried it.)"

I've never done that either and don't really write the kinds of books that would need it, but I think it could work. Makes me think of TV dramas that start with 'Previously on (enter name of show)' then catch you up on important plot points you might not know or may have forgotten. So, yes, I think that makes sense.


message 42: by Phillip (new)

Phillip Murrell | 367 comments Mark Lawrence starts his books with a few pages of key information. It's labelled differently than the rest of the story and is right up front. If you check one out, you'll see the style. I find it extremely helpful.


message 43: by Haru (last edited Apr 26, 2020 02:43PM) (new)

Haru Ichiban | 255 comments B.A. wrote: "To avoid an info dump, slide little slivers in be it in thought, conversations (remember it would be something both parties would know) a quick flash back or a simple reverence to what the reader needs to know."

This. I couldn't have said it better.

I would only include the essential.

The transition from my first novel to the second was easy, the MC forgets almost everything that transpired and had to restart life from almost zero :)
Now from the second to the third, the things she explained again (she is the narrator) were:
-I have this career, but want another. I love my husband, but never feel secure with him (who is she, her feelings and motivation)
-I live here and work there (environment)
-I solved two cases, and I feel better as a private detective than a police one (what happened in the second book)

All explained very succintly. Just to elicit an 'Ah!' moment in case anyone forgot. If it's not the bare bones, omit it.


message 44: by Jay (new)

Jay Greenstein (jaygreenstein) | 232 comments A philosophical point, M. J.:

How do we present backstory from the previous book in the story? Why bother?

Why does the reader give a damn about that small section of the character's past? She has an entire lifetime of things that happened to her. Why don't you feel obligated to present that, too?

My point is that the first novel was self contained. It had a beginning, middle, climax and denouement. The fact that this one begins at some time after the first one ended is irrelevant, unless she runs into a situation that depends on taking something that happened into account. But that event, in and of itself, will cause her to take the relevant information into account as she works through today's problem, and so, the thought processes will provide context for the reader—which is all they need. They're living the current scene, remember, not studying the history of fictional people. And think about it. If you can stop the story dead to lecture the reader on things in the past, and the reader doesn't object, it's not much of a story.

Any digression must be because you've made the reader Want/Need the information enough that their interest in learning that is greater than any regret at halting the flow of story.

If there are things the reader needs to know so they have context for what's going on, arrange a situation that's both necessary to the scene in progress and, will provide the information.

Remember, the reader isn't memorizing your book. So if you give them an info-dump of backstory that'll be necessary later, they will probably have forgotten it by then. Remember, we may only have their attention for fifteen minutes a day at lunch, or on the train to and from work. So we need to take that into account.


message 45: by Raymond (new)

Raymond Hall (goodreadscomraymondmhall) | 1 comments I wrote the sequel to "Thou Shall Not Suffer a Witch to Live" some years afterwards. Called "Back to The End" It can be read as a sequel or as an independant book. Subtle illusions to the first book are placed so that the reader gets the idea of what happened in the past, or should that be the future!


message 46: by Frank (new)

Frank Linik | 9 comments A couple of thoughts:
Only include the info if it is necessary to advance the plot in the sequel.
It can come from another character; he/she learns the info and asks about it or questions the veracity of it.
An incident happens to the main character and triggers a memory.
Good luck!


message 47: by Bill (new)

Bill Greenwood | 38 comments I simply made allusions to the previous story in key places throughout the book. Each allusion added another detail.


message 48: by Viola (new)

Viola Russell | 36 comments I sprinkle the info throughout the book, sometimes in background but more often in dialogue.


message 49: by Gerrit (last edited Aug 10, 2020 06:04PM) (new)

Gerrit Overeem | 2 comments I add small tidbits through the book. For more detail, I write a short story and post on my Author Website. Someone had asked me how a character lost an eye. Instead of going into great detail, I posted a backstory about the character. I have a few other short stories pending to post once the next book is released.

I am also working on a timeline and book encyclopedia to post about the various alien species and locations if readers what more in-depth details.


message 50: by Luke (new)

Luke Gracias | 41 comments Ian wrote: "My last book was a sequel to my first. I tried as much as possible to write it as if it were a standalone novel and the previous novel was simply part of the backstory. My thinking is that for a st..."

Trying to do the same. Have recently drafted the sequel to my first novel and want it to be a standalone read. How did you go?


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