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
Image for blog post: Upsplash.
Have a fabulous day 💪🏻