As I finish posting my first novel on Tapas, and I've been reading through a dozen other people's work, I noticed that we novelists frequently have an issue with our first few sentences: they don't assume that our chapters are coming out several days apart, and will therefore be read several days apart. And in the meantime, people will forget what's happened.
I'm guilty of this. Probably everyone who writes their novel in its entirety and then posts it, or who rereads the last chapter before writing the next, has done this. We write like we're writing a normal book and not a serial... like the reader knows exactly what just happened.
After reading several disorienting installments from fellow writers, then realizing to my shame that I've been publishing similar chapters, I realized the fix is often as simple as half a sentence, somewhere in the first paragraph.
Example opening sentences: "James inched toward her with the dirty knife." vs "High on the energy from the big fight against the Robot Master, Lora stilled when she saw James inching toward her with the dirty knife."
It's true that a straight up book wouldn't need these little recaps, and I doubt editors would suggest them. But having now read several: I'm a LOT more likely to carry on reading unfinished novels when I don't have to keep looking up what happened last time, or (more often) guessing. It sucks a lot of the joy out of the story. As I prepare my next novel, I'm keeping this in mind.
Are there any little things like this that novelists do, or don't do, that encourage you to read on?