Why You Should Consider Writing A Trilogy #Writers @tonyriches


When medieval historical fiction author Tony Riches contacted me to say that he had a fab guest blog post up his sleeve I was over the moon.

When I read his guest blog post I felt like one of my big writing related questions had been answered. The question being – why should you consider writing a trilogy?

Prior to Tony’s guest post, I spent a lot of time thinking about why you should consider writing a trilogy. I came up with the following points:

  • You should write a trilogy if you secretly crave literary pain. Writing one book won’t come close to satisfying your literary pain needs, so you need to write three in quick succession to get your fix.
  • You should write a trilogy if you can’t think of a way to end your story and you strongly believe that come the end of writing the third book you will have figured it out.
  • You should write a trilogy if you have fallen madly in love with one of your characters and can’t bear to be parted from them. Writing a story about your crush and spanning it over three books might help you get this fictional love interest out of your system. Your readers might not share your love for this character but that’s low level detail.
  • You should write a trilogy if you have an attention seeking diva of a main character who demands a bigger world stage. Give them a trilogy and watch their power hungry eyes light up!

To my surprise Tony has come up with a different set of reasons to me.

Check out this great post below.

Take it away Tony!

For most writers, completing one book would seem more than enough of an achievement, so why would anyone make a commitment to writing three? I was reading Conn Iggulden’s impressive Wars of the Roses trilogy, when the answer occurred to me.

There are real benefits of tackling any story as a trilogy, and now I’ve written one I’m convinced it’s something any novelist should consider.

For me, the greatest benefit is synergy, which Cambridge English Dictionary defines as:

‘the combined power of a group of things when they are working together that is greater than the total power achieved by each working separately.’

Put simply, the scope of a trilogy offers writers a liberating sense of space and freedom, as ideas hinted at in the first book can be developed and explored over the rest. This means the writer has space to explore the complexity of relationships that evolve over time, as well as the shifting social, political and economic context over years – or even generations, offering readers a more ‘immersive’ experience.

There are also practical and commercial considerations. If you follow the fashion for longer books, you have one opportunity to sell it and the promotion can only begin once it’s available for pre-order. I was able to promote book one of my Tudor trilogy while writing book two (and it became a best-seller in the UK, US and Australia.) Readers began contacting me to ask when the next book in the trilogy would be available and I soon built an international reader base for the trilogy.

Similarly, although each book works as a ‘stand-alone’, I’ve seen evidence in my sales that people reading them in the wrong order tend to buy the others. I also hadn’t realised Amazon (and other retailers) are happy to promote and market a trilogy (or any series) as a discounted single purchase, which is good value for readers and means your books are more likely to be ‘discovered’.

Finally, a trilogy offers a framework for developing work on an ‘epic’ scale. In my case, I realised there were countless novels about the court of King Henry VIII and his six wives, yet I could find almost nothing about the early Tudors who founded the dynasty. The idea for The Tudor Trilogy was that King Henry VIII’s father could be born in book one, ‘come of age’ in book two, and rule England in book three, so there would be plenty of scope to explore his life and times.

The first book of the trilogy was my fourth novel, so I had a good idea about the structure.

  • In book one, OWEN, a Welsh servant of Queen Catherine of Valois, the lonely widow of King Henry V, falls in love with her and they marry in secret. Their eldest son Edmund Tudor marries the thirteen year-old heiress Lady Margaret Beaufort, and fathers a child with her to secure her inheritance. The birth of her son, Henry, nearly kills her, and when her husband dies mysteriously, his younger brother Jasper Tudor swears to protect them.
  • In book two, JASPER, they flee to exile in Brittany and plan to one day return and make Henry King of England. King Richard III has taken the throne and has a powerful army of thousands – while Jasper and Henry have nothing. Even the clothes they wear are paid for by the Duke of Brittany. So how can they possibly invade England and defeat King Richard at the Battle of Bosworth?
  • In the final book of the trilogy, HENRY, I explore how he brought peace to England by marrying Elizabeth of York, the beautiful daughter of his enemy, King Edward IV. The Tudor trilogy offers me the scope and depth to help readers understand how Henry’s second son became King Henry VIII, the tyrant who transformed the history of England forever.

I hope this has been of use to you and I would like to thank Lucy for giving me the opportunity to guest post on her blog.

Thanks Tony for these great reasons and I now understand why we should consider writing a trilogy. 

About the Author

Tony Riches is a full-time author of best-selling fiction and non-fiction books. He lives by the sea in Pembrokeshire, West Wales with his wife and enjoys sea and river kayaking in his spare time. For more information about Tony’s other books please visit his popular blog, The Writing Desk and website www.tonyriches.com and find him on Facebook and Twitter @tonyriches. The Tudor Trilogy is available on Amazon UK  Amazon US and Amazon AU

Tony Riches Pembroke

The Tudor Trilogy 3D


Image for blog post: Upsplash.

Have a fabulous day 💪🏻

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Still waiting for the Sleepless in Seattle film sequel. Romcom Author. Book Blogger. Mum of teens. Owned by a golden Labrador.

15 thoughts on “Why You Should Consider Writing A Trilogy #Writers @tonyriches

  1. The Rule of Three – er – rules. But it’s true – trilogies are a great way to expand the vision of any novel. I suspect the trend was triggered by Tolkien – I am hard-pressed to think of any popular trilogies prior to ‘The Lord Of The Rings’. Although I believe it was only an accident that it was published that way. Apparently Rayner Unwin didn’t think it would sell and wasn’t prepared to issue the whole lot at once, so he asked Tolkien to divide it into three. When you look at the original sales figures, it’s clear Unwin was right – it wasn’t until the mid-1960s when the ‘counter-culture’ picked it up in the US that it became mainstream… and so the concept of a three-part novel burst upon our consciousness.

  2. I’ve found the same joy in hinting little things in books one and two that are expanded upon later. A love interest briefly appears in book two as a preteen when I know she’ll catch Buck’s eye in book four. I also know she was born in the prequel and saved from an Indian attack.

    If you love your characters and digging deep go for writing at least a trilogy!
    Great article.

  3. I must like pain.

    When I was writing my first Goblin Fantasy novel, things that needed to happen in subsequent generations were what drove me to make it a trilogy. As it happened, the way it wrapped up at the end of the third book was something I found very satisfying, though the end of the first book felt… not quite finished yet.

    As for loving my character(s), I have favourites and I particularly love the world I created, but I was determined to stop at three.

    I’m now speculating on a second trilogy in the same world, possibly with some character crossover. I just want to go back!

  4. That’s pretty strange with me. I had never written novels before, I had just writte short stories for decades. Then this idea formed in my head, and I thought it could be a trilogy of novellas.
    Didn’t happen. As soon as I started writing, it boomed out into a trilogy of novels… which would have scared me our of my wits, if I hadn’t been too busy writing 😉

    I think a trilogy helps getting really deep in the characters’ reasons and the situation. It gives the possibility to explore not just the world and the charatchers’ stories, but really their reasons and so the story’s theme.

  5. I am in the process of writing my first trilogy simply because my main character needed to prove she was a strong person and not someone to be dominated. Now as I approach the end of Book 2 she is beginning to discover her father’s domineering streak runs through her.

      1. My writing process would probably make other writers cringe or possibly have nightmares 😱
        But if you’re willing to risk it I’ll work on one as soon as I complete this live-in-caring assignment and back home for 2 weeks.

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