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working writer wending her way through the labyrinth that is self-publishing

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Trials and tribulations of trilogy

This post is about the difficulties an author can encounter in writing the third book of a trilogy--or I suppose the last book of any series. Unless you're the type of writer who has outlined the entire story and knows what will happen in each book these rules will apply. And since I'm what's known as a 'pantser' I do not fit in the aforementioned category.

1. Staying true to what you've already written--no matter how much you wish you hadn't put in the bit about (fill in the blank), it is down in black and white and there is no denying it.

2. Adding new characters--don't know if I read this somewhere but from my standpoint adding a bunch of new characters into the last book of a series detracts from the ones you already have and can be confusing. (Game of Thrones notwithstanding).

3. Making sure the plot is not the same as the first two--each book of a series in unique and to repeat plot lines is boring despite how hard it is to think up a new one. Try and make book 3 unique and a surprise for your readers.

4. Making sure the characters stay true to who they are--if Mary has been a scatterbrain in book 1 and 2 it makes no sense for her to suddenly become organized--unless there is a major reason why and this transformation is part of the plot.

5. Adding background material--adding background material for one or two characters who have not been previously developed is okay as long as it doesn't end up taking over.

6. Weaving in what has come before--as hard as it is to do, a writer needs to act as though each book is a stand-alone. This can be done in a prologue or just woven in artfully as the story unfolds.

In the course of writing book 3, these 'rules' have come to my attention, plaguing me. But to look at things positively, the story line has been laid out already--all the author needs to do is to finish it. Sounds easy, doesn't it?

Thanks for reading!

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