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To trilogy or not to trilogy....

When I started writing I didn't question writing a trilogy. That was what every sci fi/fantasy writer did - wrote three books. So that's what I set out to do. Since then, I've also written two standalone novels and trunked another, so I have a bit of knowledge of both processes.

Standalones are wonderful. They hit the ground running, their strands are easy-ish (er?) to hold onto, they have a lovely focus on the main story and don't meander so much. I doubt I'll write anything other than standalones in the future, maybe two books at a push. I'm not an epic lover, I'm happy with something neat and tidy.

But I wouldn't change having written a trilogy. I finished the good draft of book three today. I have editing and work ahead, but the bones are there. Could I have told the story in one book? No, absolutely not. Book one laid the groundwork, the point of reference. In two? I thought about it when the road to the third was hard. I even had a version that wrapped things up. It didn't satisfy.

The third book satisfied. It brought the strands of the first book together. It explained why I chose the trope of torture (and rape, although I think male rape is not the same trope as female rape and may be closer to a taboo, but I'd be prepared to be shot down on that) and made sense of them in the character arc. It closed the secondary characters' arcs, it allowed me the existentialist end that was always essential to the main character and my overall ambition.

What would I say to the me, green as can be, determined to write three books? I'd tell myself to learn structure first, to perhaps learn more writing skills and avoid the many, many, many rewrites of book one. I might tell myself to slow down.

And yet... If I had? Would I have been the writer I am? To write the 260,000 words the trilogy sits at, I ditched the same and more. A lot of my million words are in there.


I'm not sure I wouldn't just tell my younger self to believe, to try, and maybe to be surprised. And proud. Because no matter what anyone else thinks of it, I'm proud of it. And I don't say that often...


ABENDAU'S CHILD, the first of the Abendau trilogy, due for release 2015 from Tickety-boo press.

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