Writing a trilogy: like being STUCK in the middle of reading a great book

STUCK. hate this feeling!

STUCK LIKE GLUE. hate this feeling!

So…. I’ve been one busy bee. In the midst of editing novel three of my first trilogy, running a promo for book one, doing some freelance translation and ignoring my search for a real job for a bit, I’ve been thinking about my next trilogy (or at least a book and sequel) about Herezoth. And I’m a bit stumped.

I wrote book one during NaNoWriMo last year. And while it needs a lot of work, and I’m not quite sure how to explain the absence of some characters from the first trilogy, I think with extensive editing I can make it a fun and interesting story. I do love the characters who take center stage there. I would love to write more about them.

The problem is, I have no clue right now how to take the story in a direction that will bring it to the end I need: two particular characters together. It looks as though a political marriage may interfere, and I’m not sure how to deal with the situation without it becoming a major soap opera: soap operas are fine, but that’s not what I’m going for.

My choices are to invest more time in this new trilogy after I publish book three of the first one, or just to call it a loss and write something else. I don’t want to throw in the towel just yet, but I’d hate this new series to suck my time if it doesn’t end up working out for me. The problems are:

  • I’m worried a romantic relationship has become too much the center of the story, or soon will, when the story’s about a war and is a fantasy novel, not a romance novel.
  • I’m determined at the end of the road to have these two characters end up together. I just don’t know if I can legitimately expect my readers to be patient enough to wait for that to happen. The characters aren’t the kind of people who would have an affair or run away together.

So, ugh. I have plenty of time to think things over and try to come up with a solution to this new series and its issues. But man….


I never realized when I started my first trilogy it would be a trilogy. Otherwise, I probably would have thought things over too much, to the point that I freaked myself out the way I’m doing now. If I just take it one step at a time with this second set of books, things should work themselves out somehow. They worked themselves out the first time around, after all. And I have plenty more experience writing now than I did then. It’s just nerve-wracking. I’m sure the story won’t end any way I could anticipate right now. But just wondering how things will unfold is KILLING ME every night when I try to sleep and end up thinking about where to take my plot. It’s almost like being in the middle of reading a fantastic book I’m just enthralled with but can’t guess what’ll happen next, and life prevents me from reading more. But, there could be bigger problems, I guess!



9 responses to “Writing a trilogy: like being STUCK in the middle of reading a great book

  1. It definitely can be nerve-wracking when you feel like you can’t quite see where the plot’s going, or how to resolve it. Long term plot goals are especially important with fantasy books, I think (doubly so when you’re planning sequels). I’ve definitely felt similarly about my current project. Things to consider maybe – a) be flexible, have an idea where you’re going but be prepared to adjust, b) take some time away from the problem, sometimes all you need is a break to see the light, and c) the difference between a soap opera and a drama is poignancy, as long as you can add weight and thoughtfulness to your character’s actions, go to town. 🙂 Sounds like you’re doing well, don’t let a little block get to you, happens to all of us. Keep at it! ^^

    • thanks Ryan!!! that’s some excellent advice. I do try to make sure when the characters freak out about something that it’s poignant and for a reason. VERY good point there!!! Distance is a good point too. Maybe I should stop thinking about it for a bit 🙂

  2. There’s nothing wrong with a romance taking center stage in a fantasy novel. If that’s the plot you feel like then that’s the one you should write. You wrote a post about this ‘Write the story that’s in your heart’. What you describe sounds like a romance in a fantas setting; nothing wrong with that.

    • thanks, Brian. That’s true! And there’s a war story in the background I can do a lot with. It’s just a different dynamic than I’ve written before. Not sure how people who like the first trilogy would respond to it. But you’re so right, reminding me what I wrote before 🙂 Thanks!!!

  3. It is nerve wracking not knowing where your trilogy may go. I am feeling it now, and I’m wondering if I was out of mind when I decided to write a trilogy. I don’t regret my decision, but it falls into the category: “if only I knew then what I know now”.

    • oh my gosh, I’m glad I’m not alone! 🙂 that’s such a great way to describe it: the “I wish I knew then” deal. Thanks, Megan! And good luck having things fall into place! Don’t worry, you’re not out of your mind at all. And when things do fall together for us, I think we both will be amazed.

  4. Pingback: How writing every day is like buying a lottery ticket | Creative Writing with the Crimson League

  5. If it makes you feel any better, knowing where it’s going is just as bad… Writing a trilogy feels like running a marathon. But worth it in the end.

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