As I take a break from reading and writing my own book, it occurred to me that I go into quite a bit of detail about my main characters. Now, it’s not uncommon to give visual imagery and descriptive background information about focal characters, but this is my third novel, so it got me to thinking…
Each of my books contains the same group of main characters, and while it’s not a series in the sense of one book leads into the other, the books are all intertwined in some small way. They can all stand alone on their own and you don’t need to read one to know what’s going on in another, but there are some nuances and instances where I put little stuff in each one that you might only get if you’ve read them all.
My characters, on the other hand, remain the same throughout. Each book is a new adventure with a new set of bad guys to take down.
Having said that, I spend quite a bit of time describing these central players, complete with visual descriptions and background information, but I’m curious to hear what others think about this when it comes to their own books. If you write a series, do you feel the need to describe each character in every new book, or do you rely on the reader to read every book in the series and already know who they are reading about?
For me, I like to get into the details of my main characters. If someone picks up my second novel, Whispering Death, and that’s the first book they’ve read from me, I want them to be able to visualize Mercer and Vigil, along with the rest of the NESA crew. But, for those who have read all my books, do they feel like I’m being repetitive when I describe each person again and again? These are things I think about.
As mentioned, I write each of my books so that they can stand alone, but obviously I would prefer if everyone read them in order. I don’t want to write a typical series where you need to read from book one all the way through to know what’s going on. That style of writing doesn’t suit my personality, but I guess my books are considered a series since the same core of characters are in each one. I only question if I’m wasting words on my laptop as I write each new book.
I personally don’t view it this way, but I wonder if my readers do. Maybe they already know all of Mercer’s details and don’t need to be reminded, but then again, if I don’t describe him in each book and I get a first-time reader who picks up my second book, they might feel a little disconnected from the character.
For my author friends who write series (or have the same characters in multiple books), how do you approach the character description process? I figure until I’m as big as J.K. Rowling, the best way to get my characters known is to drill it into the heads of my readers – without making it seem like I’m trying to drill it into their heads.
As always, thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading!