1. potters_pimp
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    potters_pimp Member

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    Plotting a Trilogy

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by potters_pimp, Aug 24, 2007.

    I'm currently working out a trilogy while waiting for the right time to begin editing my recently finished novel, Sinspell. My problem is how many character I should have and how to intertwine their stories.
     
  2. Weaselword
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    Weaselword Banned

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    Don't plan to write a trilogy. Write the best story you can, then see how long it is.
     
  3. Domoviye
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    Domoviye Contributing Member

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    Depends on the story.
    Some series only focus on a single character, occasionally bringing one or two others (usually the main characters enemies) to the fore when they discuss their plans.
    Others have casts of dozens.

    Like Weasel said focus on the story and see what happens.
     
  4. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    I would agree with Weasel. Start off, and see where it takes you.
     
  5. Kizmet
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    Kizmet New Member

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    I also agree with weasel. A trilogy, if it is to be one, would probably need to be about 900-1200 pages long. If you've got a story that can hold a reader for 1000 pages then I'd say that you should just go and write that story. Once it's written you can make some decisions about how to divide it up into thirds. (btw, I love trilogies and hope to write one someday)
     
  6. Scavenger
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    Scavenger Senior Member

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    I have the same problem, to an extent. I'm writing a story with three books inside the one (think Lord of the Rings format), and I too had trouble deciding what to do with the characters.

    Like people have said, it really depends on the story. If you have one focal character, then you need to really develop that character's background/story, mostly because it should be central to the plot. It is also a good idea to give some subplots to the main character's posse (both the good and the bad).

    None of us can tell you what to write or how to write it, it's your story. As you develop it, the stories you need to tell should reveal themselves, and you can make your decisions from there.
     
  7. Nadala
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    Nadala Banned

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    most fantasy trilogys go for a max of four characters from what I've noticed
     
  8. Raven
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    Raven Banned

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    Basically you'll proberly need about 3-4 main characters throughout the trilogy.

    You'll then need supporting characters that may have a main part in one and a lesser part in another.

    And then the villains. You may need different baddies in each story or carry the same ones through the three. But then that would depend on your trilogy
     
  9. Nadala
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    Nadala Banned

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    ZOMG 0_o I forgot the minions ><
     
  10. potters_pimp
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    potters_pimp Member

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    At the moment, I have a fair few character which are pivotal to the story, but the whole story is really about one main character and one villain.
     
  11. LionofPerth
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    LionofPerth Senior Member

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    Follow the main character, perhaps try to weave the other good characters in and out.

    If anything, Lord of the Rings works so well is that you don't know what the bad guy is up to or thinking. I'd say write the story as a complete single piece, then look at the story lines you finish at various points, using those as your breaks.
     
  12. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Planning a story line out is a good idea, especially if it's complex. I am not sure you can decide the number of characters needed until you have the events determined--what will happen and how from beginning to end.

    As said, I am not sure you can be sure your story will be a trilogy ahead of time. However, I would not recommend as suggested that you write it out (all 300,000 or so words) and then plan on splitting it up into three books.

    A good trilogy will have an overall story arc or plot, but each of the individual books must have their own proper beginning and events leading to an ending, that are encompassed within (or by) the trilogy's story. Simply splitting the entire work into thirds may or may not work.

    Another idea to consider is not writing a trilogy, but rather an initial novel with planned sequels.

    Just a few random thoughts to add to the mix.

    Terry

    Terry
     
  13. potters_pimp
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    It's a main story arc, with each book having it's own beginning, middle and end. PS. I just finished chapter one.
     
  14. Karpi
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    well i method i use to intertwine my stories is write each chapter from a different characters point of view (well within a group of about 4). Like for me, the people havent even met each other but notice them on the street, or in school, etc. Whatever theyre doing at that time can be used to give LOADS of hints.
     
  15. Lily
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    Lily Member

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    Sometimes, it's easier to write a trilogy if each book has a theme. First part, discovery, second, problems, third, solutions...you know what I mean? Figure out what you want your characters to discover in the first book, then work from there.
     
  16. Funny Bunny
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    There are no rules. A Series is when the same characters are used. A tiology can be based on many things. You can have a time factor, for example stories from the same country or "planet," but with totally different people. You can have then with the same people. You can write a series of three non related storys but set them in the same town or region. One great motion picture director (French) created 3 movies based on the colors Red, White, and Blue. I think an interesting thing to try would be the lives of 3 siblings, each with different versions of the past.

    3 is usually chosen because it is a sacred number, but linked books occur in different numbers as well. Huck Finn, and Tom Sawyer are linked. They exist in the world/reality of the other.
     
  17. PaulChernoch
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    PaulChernoch New Member

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    I prefer the accidental approach. Three and a half years ago I began work on what was supposed to be a single fantasy novel. After three more chapters and a lot of editing I will have a trilogy.

    When the story got too long to be a single novel, I split it in half. Then I found that the end of the second one came too long after the climactic battle, so I cut the end off the second and pushed it into a third.

    But the end of the third came too soon. I needed more plot. So I took ideas that were to have gone into an entirely separate novel (and genre!) and grafted them into my original story. This required adding new plot threads, characters, character goals, etc.

    What made this possible?

    1) Structural Variety. Each book needed to offer very different things to interest the reader. Book one is a fugitive story, and book two is a war story (where the fugitive from the first book finally escapes and gathers an army). Book three is a find-the-villain-and-stop-him-from-conquering-the-universe story. Structurally, the first book follows one character intensely, while the second book follows several factions in a power struggle. The third book follows a small team of heroes.
    2) Genre Variety. The first two books are fantasy, while the third is part sci-fi. I also included a murder mystery, courtroom drama, and other forms in the story.
    3) Thematic Variety. I emphasized different themes in the three books.
    4) A single villain. The villain seems to be thwarted numerous times, but takes each defeat in stride and poses a greater threat in each succeeding book.
    5) Introducing characters in one book and developing in succeeding volumes. This allowed me to have dramatic reversals: good people join the villain, a crony of the villain joins the heroes, etc.
    6) With such a long story, I was able to develop institutions, which could then play roles on par with characters.
    7) Setting. I created a whole world, so I could guarantee new and interesting places for the action.
    8) Culture. I devised an entire legal system for my world, as well as fleshing out some intesting jobs people hold. This made it possible to have unique work-relationships and cultural rituals to add flavor to things, and enhance the themes.

    This effort was built on top of months of research. Without the research, I would not have been able to build a base strong enough to sustain such a long story.

    - Paul
     

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