…even after publication. Before, for instance, turning in the next book (if at all possible.) At least read the old manuscript file. Because otherwise a person who thinks she knows *exactly* what the end of the previous book was like (after all, it’s the last thing she revised, and proofread, and sent off to Editor) may find that the “join” between two related books…isn’t so much a join as a jog…enough to derail an attentive, intelligent reader. Like you. Because you would notice if the end of Book 1 did not agree with the beginning of Book 2 on such details as who was where, who was doing which job, when a precipitating event happened…wouldn’t you?
A mismatch later in Book 2 could be that the change just wasn’t mentioned in Book 2. That time Gina went to the grocery store, that now makes you remember that Book 1 said Tina went to the grocery store…no big deal because maybe Author meant a different trip to the grocery store. But right at the start of Book 2, when Book 1 made it clear the last trip to the grocery store before heading out to the mountain cabin (for an example NOT in INTO THE FIRE) was Gina’s, reference to the “last trip before heading out” that says it was Tina’s…will trip up a reader unless explained. Is it a typo? But there was a character named Tina, only she wasn’t speaking to Gina at the end of the last book, but…typo? Continuity error? As a reader this is the kind of thing I notice and then worry about and it breaks my reading concentration.
So now I need to rewrite the opening scenes of INTO THE FIRE so they’re congruent with the end of COLD WELCOME and I should have done that months ago. Grump at self. (I actually did read the ms. file quite a lot, but didn’t seriously compare end of one to beginning of the other. Other things I fixed. Not that.) What experience gives a writer is the ability to look at a somewhat tangled problem and think out the most efficient way to fix it instead of getting bogged down. So let’s see if I’ve actually got that experience. (Opening INTO THE FIRE file.)