1. AJSmith
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    AJSmith Senior Member

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    Trilogy/Series

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by AJSmith, Mar 10, 2011.

    I'm starting this thread because Preacher's thread brought up a lot of questions for me, and I didn't want to high-jack that thread.

    A lot of advise was not to mention trilogy as a first time author trying to get published.

    A lot of advise was to make the novel stand alone with potential for a trilogy.

    My problem:
    I see absolutely no way of making my novel a stand alone without changing it so significantly that it would not be at all what I intend. The overarching story is huge, and there is no way to fit it in one book. I am actually concerned when mapping out the overall plot, that it may take four books to get it written.

    I have all necessary plot elements planned for all three books, and they work that way. There is a vitally important problem/solution sequence planned for each book with a climax, conclusion, etc. But... all of the plots for the individual books are part of and integrally tied to the larger plot. I just don't see how to disconnect them and make it stand alone. It is one story.

    I am about two thirds through rough draft of book one, but I am constantly referencing and adding to my notes about the following books as I go. My overall story is always in my mind when I am writing. I have characters planned and developing that will not be introduced in this book, I have larger events that are foreshadowed in this book. My MC has a quest much larger than the one she faces in the first book. I have an entire world that will be developed further over the next two books, but has been introduced slightly in this book. Everything is connected and important, not that I am saying I won't be making cuts or changes, but when it comes to the master plot, I see no way of separating thing.

    I am just shy of 70,000 words now, and with a third to go, plus I know that my revisions will add to the descriptions and make it longer. I don't see this novel being less than 100,000 words, and likely, it will go well over.

    I'm really worried now... What do I do?!
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    What genre is it ? A number of smaller fantasy/scfi/romance publishers do takes series. Fantasy novels are generally longer and 100,000 is about right.
     
  3. Tesgah
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    Tesgah Member

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    Mentioning that it is a trilogy doesn't make it impossible to publish your book, but it might make it more difficult. Some agents do not accept a first time writer's book if it cannot work as a stand alone. This does not, however, mean that everyone feels this way. Many agents look for the next "Harry Potter" or similar, but taking a chance on a new writer is always a risk. Even more so when it's a series. The agent/publisher will never know if the writer is a one hit wonder, and if he/she can deliver on the future books.

    I would advise that you write your book so that one part of the story ends. *SPOILERS: ERAGON 1* In Eragon the book builds up to a big battle, and while the big bad is still around the story of the book is kinda finished. *SPOILER ENDS* (I have absolutely no idea what the rules are on spoilers on these forums :)) There are some holes etc., but the book functions as a stand alone, even though it's obiously meant to be a sequel. Harry potter is an even better example, seeing as each book is an episode that can carry itself. At least the first few, but when your series become established you as a writer can pretty much do whatever you want.

    I would advise that you write your book as you think it should be written, though you should avoid ending the story in the middle of something. The ending should feel right. A natural pause as the reader waits for the next book.
     
  4. Silver_Dragon
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    Silver_Dragon Senior Member

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    I don't think this should be a problem. It seems to me that a problem would occur if each book did not work up to its own climax and conclusion, i.e., your series was just one very large novel split into installments. If each one deals with a separate problem, even if there is an overarching storyline, they should be "stand-alone" enough to get published. A lot of the fantasy novels I read are left somewhat open-ended to allow for sequels.

    That being said, I think you should look at whether the publishers you're interested in do series before submitting, as Elgaisma suggested. Maybe doing some research now would be a good idea before deciding how to proceed with your story.
     
  5. AJSmith
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    AJSmith Senior Member

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    Thanks for the quick replies.

    Elgaisma: The genre is fantasy.

    The plot of each book is definitely complete in itself. The first book hints quite a lot at things that will become further developed over the following books, leaving a lot of unanswered questions - but not in relation to the plot of that book, in relation to the overarching plot... If that made sense. :)

    I will definitely look into who tends to publish series. Thanks for the advice.

    When I started writing, I never thought of anything except getting that story down. Getting closer, all of these complexities are starting to worry me.

    As far as 100,000 words being about right, what length is too long, as in undesirable to publishers? I'm guessing about 100,000, but I know there are many scenes that need a lot of detailing after the fact because I was just flying through them as they came to me.
     
  6. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    upto about 130,000 seems to be about right for what publishers and agents that take fantasy in the UK say they are looking for.
     
  7. Preacher
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    Preacher Member

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    I know that everyone wants to be published and there is a lot of emphasis, in the posts on this forum, to do only what will get you that golden ticket.

    I supposed if I wanted to play the starving artist and my livelihood depended on that next royalty check, I might feel the same. But here's the thing.... I don't.

    I have a job and I write because I love to write. I love the thought that my words may influence someone; that my ideals can be transferred to others through my stories.

    My current project is at least a trilogy and, like I said in the other thread, I know that it may never see the light of day and I am OK with that. I want to see it through anyway.

    I do understand the desired to be published, but I think that we, as a group, focus entirely too much on the financial aspect of writing, and do so at the expense of the creative process.

    Sorry to be so long-winded!

    ------ TL/DR -------

    Write what you like. Write what makes you happy. Worry about the other stuff when you are done.
     
  8. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    Well said, Preacher. Sometimes you can forget about the "fun" side of writing. It's kind of fun in the way that climbing a mountain is fun.
     

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