Monday, July 13, 2015


Reader feedback has been utterly invaluable throughout my writing career--at times, I would argue, even more illuminating than some feedback I've received from industry insiders.

As I make my way through the rewrites of PLAY IT AGAIN (the sequel to PLAYING HURT), I decided to ask readers for a bit of feedback before my book released.

Specifically, I asked, "What's your biggest pet peeve about sequels--and, conversely, what do you love about them?"

The top three most frequently mentioned pet peeves were:

1. The dreaded info dump - Giving a giant synopsis of the previous book right at the beginning of the sequel, rather than funneling bits of information or reminders regarding previous plot points throughout the text.

2. Rehashing the same plot - Refusing to put your characters in a new set of circumstances, relying instead on a retelling of the previous story.

3. Forgetting who your characters are - Readers often indicate it's the characters that bring them back to a sequel, rather than the story line. They want to spend more time with the people they fell in love with in the first book. Bringing back characters who have changed too drastically since the last installment can be jarring and disappointing for your readers.

My absolute favorite response came from a reader who said she knew a sequel had been a success when it felt both "unexpected and inevitable." What a great point to keep in mind as I work on my rewrites...


  1. I hate the continuity errors. Something subtle yet unchangeable is different, because it fits the sequel better. Or when characters, conflicts, and other things from the original are not mentioned in the sequel. My favorite book was 'Catch-22'. My least favorite book was 'Closing Time,' its sequel.

    1. That's so true--that happens to me watching TV. (I can think of something that popped up in the second season of ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK that had me saying, "But how can that happen? Just three episodes ago, you said...")


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