Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Trilogy Trap

Are you writing a trilogy?  Yes?  Great!  No?  Well, you might as well listen up anyway.  I mean, you're here, right?

Don't let this happen to you.  It's a little something I like to call the Trilogy Trap.  It goes a little like this:

Book one: Exposition.  More exposition.  Show your reader this wonderful world you've created.  After all, you spend hours on it, so why waste all that work?  Explain things in lots of detail.  Not much happens, but then again, you've got two more books for that, right?

Book two: Character development.  Show fifteen sides to every person in your book, whether they matter or not.  Lots of conversations between characters to show off these magnificent personalities that you've worked so hard on.  There's a little more action here, but not much.  I mean, there's still one more book to fill!

Book three: Showdown.  Finally, now that you've explained everything in depth and your readers know their characters better than they know themselves, it's time for the story to really begin.  There's plenty of action here, and an awesome plot that will make readers turn pages furiously into the night.  It's the final book, so you've got to pour everything into it!

Yeah.  I hope you see the problem here.  Do you really want to read two books where nothing much happens, in order to get to the good stuff?  No!  Or at least, I don't.  Maybe you do.  But my psychic powers tell me that you don't.

So, here's the deal.  If you're writing a trilogy, good for you.  I like trilogies.  But please, please don't fall into this trap.  It's a nasty one, just waiting there to snap up unsuspecting authors.  How can you combat it?

It's simple, really.  Make sure something happens in every book.  Make sure each book has a plot.  It should have a climax and some sort of conclusion.  The conclusion part is tricky, as you want it to have some sense of I'm-ending-this-book-now, but you want to leave your readers wanting more.

Here are some trilogies that don't fall into the trap (aka read them because they're awesome):

In the Hall of the Dragon King (The Dragon King Trilogy, Book 1)
The Dragon King Trilogy by Stephen R. Lawhead  (Fantasy)

  








The Circle of Stone: The Darkest Age III (The Darkest Age) 
The Darkest Age Trilogy by A. J. Lake (fantasy)

The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, #2) 








The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkein (Well, duh!)

Blue Flame (Perfect Fire Trilogy, #1) 










                                                  
 The Perfect Fire Trilogy by K. M. Grant (historical fiction)

Inkheart (Inkheart, #1) 









 The Inkheart Trilogy by Cornelia Funke (fantasy...but this is a must-read for ALL authors and/or book lovers!)







The Inheritance... Never mind. *gives meaningful glance to Paolini*

So, over to you, blog followers.  What do you think about trilogies?  What are your favorites? How do you show your frustration when you read one that goes like this?

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