It’s the first Wednesday of the month again, time for a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.
Lately, many genre writers took to writing series, three, four, five books, sometimes up to twenty or more. Some authors write series that follow the same protagonists throughout, while others, especially in the romance genre, concentrate on large families or groups of friends and produce one book per person.
Often, when you read any but the first book of the romance series, the author would go into a recap mode in the beginning. She might start a novel with some sort of a gathering, with all the previous protagonists of all the previous books in attendance, plus their growing families, and would recount what happened in all the previous stories, enumerate all the husbands and wives and children that have sprouted since book number one, even describe their clothing and eye colors.
When you get to a book number five or six, such backstory might take one quarter of the novel or even longer before the real story of the current book even starts. And the true kick is that none of those summarizations are even remotely relevant for the tale about to unfold. All the previous characters in the current story are placeholders and interchangeable.
This phenomenon – sort of The House That Jack Built in the form of a novel – is mostly present in romance series, and I wonder why and when did it become a fad. Those pages of the series synopses take away the word count from the story. They are boring for the readers familiar with the prior books and absolutely unneeded for anyone else. Why do the writers, even good writers, keep doing it?
What do you think?