Re-introducing Characters? (in a series)

Forums Fiction Characters Re-introducing Characters? (in a series)

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    Edmund Lloyd Fletcher

    I’ve run into a stuck point, maybe you all could share your tips/tricks. I’m working on getting a sequel out but I want it to stand alone for new people who pick up the series in the middle.

    What I’m struggling with is, how do I (re)introduce my characters well enough that the newcomers know who they are, yet not bore my tried-and-true fans with a lot of backstory they alreay know?

    (I thought I had this down pretty good, but feedback from some of my beta readers suggest otherwise!)

    Homeschooling father of 10, writing Christian action/adventure novels from my home high in the Rockies.

    Ariella Newheart

    Hey, @edmund-lloyd-fletcher! I understand the struggle. There are times when recapping is inevitable, even helpful, but lengthy introductions do tend to drag down the story and make the reader lose interest. Try to find a happy medium. Maybe weave in the details gradually. Even adding a few previously unknown facts could help retain interest in both camps of readers.

    If your story switches between different points of view, perhaps write from the perspective of a character who doesn’t know the others very well. Old readers will be interested to see his point of view, and you’ll be able to introduce new readers to your whole cast.

    In my case, the characters I was reintroducing had stepped off the scene for a while and had adventures of their own. Because their transformation was new even to the protagonist, I was able to make the points that I did recap count.

    Writer, illustrator, Parimi Alcan

    Check out my new blog! https://arbitraryfairy.wordpress.com/

    Josiah DeGraaf

    A lot of sequels will include a couple quick lines of background refresher information about a character when they’re re-introduced to readers. Previous readers will skim over these, but these will help get new readers up-to-speed with who these characters are. Especially if you want this to stand alone, I may also look for ways to re-introduce them with similar techniques you used to introduce them in the first book. The backstory will still need to be hinted in later, but that way you’re still using characteristic moments to help readers understand who the protagonist is.

    Lit fanatic. Eclectic reader. Theology nerd. Writing fantasy at https://josiahdegraaf.com

    Kayla Skywriter


    Hi, just coming at this from a reader’s viewpoint.

    I once read this series where the author used the same five paragraphs every time the main character appeared for the first time in a book. The series was nine books long and she never did this for any other character. It was really irritating and pushed me out of the book.

    My point is. Please don’t be too lengthy, also, if you need to do this more than once, have variation.

    How we chose to fight is just as important as what we fight for

    Edmund Lloyd Fletcher

    Thanks everybody!

    I think I found a good solution for this particular case.  I just let the reader remain confused while people run around and do their action/adventure thing in the first chapter.  Then in chapter 2 the excitement is conculded and they get personally thanked by a government representative.  DW suggested that would be a great time to introduce them to the leader, as well as to the reader.

    So, yeah, I just used a Prime Minister as a cheap shill for character introduction.  What of it? (LOL!)

    Homeschooling father of 10, writing Christian action/adventure novels from my home high in the Rockies.

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