TRIPLE THREAT: The pros and Cons of writing a Trilogy
I love to read a series, where characters I learn about in the first book, show up in a second, third, fifth. Nothing pleases me more than discovering a sibling, or friend, introduced in one book as a secondary character, has come to life in his or her own story later. I’m invested in this character and want to see how his life unfolds.
This is why I chose to make my first publication with The Wild Rose Press part of a trilogy. My series, The Three Wise Men, tells the stories of three men who meet, as students at Harvard. Their love of computers brings them together. Their common goals and principles bond them.
The Pros of writing a trilogy are obvious. If I do a good job in the first book, not only enticing my readers to invest in my male protagonist, but in interesting them in his two friends, then I have readers eager to read two more of my stories. I also have a beginning for book two and much of the groundwork around my protagonist in my second and third book in place.
To hold my readers’ interest I have the opportunity in books two and three to let them peek into the ongoing life of my protagonist from the first book, seen as a secondary character in the second book. This resurrection also illustrates the passing of time and the changes in the lives of the three friends, as story one progresses to story three. It creates the continuity many readers seek.
The cons? Well, just try to keep those characters contained. You give them enough of a story line to make them interesting in the first book, then suddenly they want to race away on their own adventure. While you’re trying to plot out book two, the friend in book three is demanding attention. He knows just what he’ll do in a certain circumstance and wants you to write about it immediately.
You end up like a remote controlled vacuum, bouncing off one idea and knocking up against another. Soon you have small piles of detritus accumulating around the original task. Your clean manuscript disappears, while your mind attempts to head in all directions at once.
A trilogy can prove a detriment by forcing tight writing windows and deadlines on you. Readers wait to buy the next book in the series, anxious to find out if Josh is saved, if Sam finds his life mate. With the promise out there, you no longer have the luxury to doddle.
Writing the second book interferes with the need to publicize the first book. Anyone plugged into social media knows this has the potential to take great chunks of time out of a writer’s day.
I’ve come up with a few practices that aid me to keep focused on my priority piece. I set specific writing times for the story. I select one day a week when I don’t work on the book, but instead do all the publicity, social media, and office work accumulating through the week – yes, one of those piles of dirt my mental vacuum created rather than cleaned up. When the other characters and their stories intrude – generally in the middle of the night, or driving down a highway, I listen and take notes. I might rise and write the scene out as it unfolds at 3:00 am, or I might speak it into my tape recorder as I make the long drive between one prairie city and the next. Often I just grab a scrap of paper, jot down the most important points to keep my brain from shredding valuable content. This scribbled note sits by my laptop till my clean-up day comes around. I don’t so much as look at it again, on a day scheduled to work on my priority piece.
Using this method, I have completed Josh’s story, book two, High Ground. Sam’s story, High Seas, is scheduled, with several scenes written, and many snippets noted to stimulate another scene or add richness to the story.
Finding balance in life is important, and so having focused intently on writing High Ground for five weeks, I am now taking a week to see some new country, loll about in a spa and spend time with my husband (financial adviser, manager, techie and sounding board). This reprieve provides the distance needed to bring objectivity to the roll of editor.
Yes, High Ground waits to have its cliché’s sheared away. It begs me to carve in clarity, chemistry and conflict. “Mold distinctive metaphors,” the form calls to the master, “and for goodness sake, soften the shape of their sensual attraction.” All this takes as much time, and work than writing the first draft. But there is an excitement in addressing each issue, and in challenging yourself to create something uniquely your own.
Thank you for taking the time to be with us and our readers today!!
Billionaire Jake Ingles is the media’s golden boy. The cameras love his fabulous face and form, his high-powered business deals, and daring adventures. On a mountain in France, Jake saves the one incomparable woman he’ll love for the rest of his life, but his fame places her beyond his reach.
Siree McConnell, forensic accountant, chooses to live anonymously to avoid the press that caused her father’s death. She refuses to tangle with the gorgeous male if it means stepping back into the spotlight, until he needs her help. Once she uncovers the thieves threatening Jake’s conglomerate, she gives in to her longing to find ecstasy in his arms. But the cost of being with him is exposure to the media and an enemy that tears them apart.
Now she has a new rescue mission: their relationship. For he will do anything to keep her safe, even walk away. It’s up to her to show him their love is worth any risk.
About the Author
Born and raised in small town Saskatchewan, Madelon Smid is a child of the prairie and truly at home when the sky makes up two-thirds of the landscape. A sixth generation Canadian, she takes pride in her country.
She studied Interior Design at the University of Manitoba, married and moved with her husband, a pilot and Air Traffic Controller, to Swift Current where she worked as Design Coordinator for a large department store. They raised their son and daughter in Saskatoon, then lived in Winnipeg, until they built their dream home on a large lake in Saskatchewan.
Writing from the kitchen table with toddlers playing beneath, Madelon sold her first contemporary romance, Star Bright to Zebra’s Lucky In Love line, eons ago. She served as President to the Saskatoon Writing Group and co-chaired many writing conferences and workshops to help other writers. When a subject sparks her imagination she goes after the details, delighting in finding answers to her many questions.
Madelon is the co-author of National Bestseller, Smart Women: Canadian Entrepreneurs Who Make Money, MacMillan Canada; and the revised updated, Smart Women Get Smarter. She has spoken to the media and entrepreneurial groups across Canada on maximizing output through meshing the needs of small business and the needs of the entrepreneur.
The huge success of Smart Women led Madelon into a career in nonfiction. Her articles appear in a wide range of national and regional periodicals. She influences others to draw from their potential to contribute to the whole.
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