As I mentioned yesterday, I jumped back into EXHALE, book 2 of my urban fantasy trilogy, over the weekend and sent the first few chapters to some new critique partners. I love sharing with new people who haven’t read the first book because I get a different perspective on the series. I intentionally sought out newbies because I want to be sure EXHALE can stand alone for those who didn’t read the first book.
Well…things aren’t looking so good on the stand-alone front. To say I’m disappointed is an understatement. I’d really hoped that once I got all the groundwork laid in INHALE, it would be a piece of piss to continue the world building in book 2, but I seem to have failed miserably. According to CPs, the world doesn’t make sense. Characters are confusing.
The world building in my urban fantasy series took an entire book to establish, and there’s plenty more to reveal in the sequels. How do I condense all that down to something easily digestible for new readers when it took me three years to get it half-way decent in the first book?
Should I not worry, say “Fuck it,” and hope the reader figures out what the hell is going on? Or do I spew off an info dump for the benefit of a small number of new readers to the series and risk book-closing boredom for the majority who already understand the world? An info dump is a huge tension and pacing killer, in my opinion. I don’t know any other way to sprinkle the little details in without murdering the pace.
Resident Geek suggested I write a two or three page set up and put it at the beginning of EXHALE, sort of like a prologue. I’m not a fan of this idea, but if it’s the best way to make it work, I guess I can do it.
I need some advice on how to proceed. Should I write the goddamn sequel without worrying about the few who didn’t read the first book and assume they’ll figure it out as they go? Or should I work harder at re-sprinkling world-building info throughout? I created a glossary for book one, but my editor doesn’t think I need it. Should I include it in EXHALE? Write a back story-laden prologue?
HELP! Somebody please tell me what to do!