Thursday, June 7, 2012

Writing a Trilogy and a Giveaway

by Stephanie Morrill

Today I'm honored to have Sarah Holman back with us to celebrate the release of her third book, The Destiny of a Galaxy. Here's a little bit of info about Sarah, in case you've missed her previous posts:

Sarah Holman, a homeschool graduate, lives in central Texas.  When not pursuing her passion of writing, she can be found taking long walks, reading, sewing or spending time with her family. You can find out more about her at her blog www.destinyofone.blogspot.com.





Writing a Trilogy: Things I learned
by Sarah Holman

Taking on the challenge of writing a trilogy has certainly been an adventure for me.  When I started writing The Destiny Trilogy in 2007, I didn’t realize the joys and the challenges I would face.  Some things are made easier by trilogies, such as the passage of large amounts of time.  Other things are made harder, like leaving the readers wanting to read the next book without ending on such a cliff-hanger that they hate you.  Here are some hints and tips that I have discovered while writing my trilogy, and I hope you find them useful.

Things change from your original plan.

I wrote all three of my books before I started editing them.  I was glad, because I found I needed to change some things in the first, especially to align facts with the other books.  Most books will deviate some from your plan; in a trilogy the trick is to make sure that all the facts match.

Endings are hard, but not impossible.

When writing a trilogy, or any book series for that matter, you want to leave your readers wanting more.  However, I have found it is better not to leave it at too much of a cliff-hanger.  It tends to make the readers angry.  So where is the balance?  This is where it is key to have relatable characters in my mind.  If your readers love your characters, nothing will keep them away from your next book. So, relay on the strength of your characters to keep your readers coming back.

Building characters over three books is a joy. 

By far, my favorite part of writing a trilogy was being able to develop my characters.  Each book allowed me to delve a little deeper into each character and share something new about them.  Maria, who struggles with what she is going to do with her life in the first book, finds herself having trouble accepting it in the second book.  Quint, who we see only the surface of in the first book is a deep character by the third book.  Unwrapping characters slowly is as fun as opening presents on Christmas!

Passage of large amounts of time are not a problem.

Between books two and three, three years pass.  In a stand-alone book, it is hard to make ‘and three years later’ work well.  However, in my trilogy, I was able to make the transition seamlessly because it happened between books. If you write a trilogy and you need a large about of time to pass, try making sure that time happens between books.

You have to make sure you don’t resolve problems too quickly.


Although your characters can resolve some things, one of the unique challenges of writing a series of books is that you don’t want all problems solved by the end of the first book. Make sure not only that the story goes on, but the hero or heroine’s problems and struggles go on as well.

Now, listen up for the most important thing to remember when writing a trilogy.  Have fun! Enjoy the story.  Keep writing, don’t stop.  This is your story, so let it pour out of you. Enjoying writing your story, and don’t worry about what others will think is vital.  You will do great; trust me.  Now, go pick up that pen and get writing.

Sarah has very generously offered to give away A COMPLETE SET of her series to one lucky commenter. (Due to the realities of pricey international shipping, this giveaway is only open to those who are U.S. residents.)

I've never used Rafflecopter before, but I've seen it on some of y'all's blogs, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. I like how it takes my counting abilities (or lack-there-of) out of the equation.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

48 comments:

  1. Sarah, I love that you posted about this. I'm working on the second book in a trilogy and I've faced some of the things you mentioned. I also agree with what you said. Endings that wrap things up but still leave the reader wanting more and hard.
    ~Sarah Faulkner

    www.inklinedwriters.blogspot.com

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  2. Congratulations on the trilogy! The book sounds intriguing. It must hve been such a fun adventure to write.

    Thank you for coming and posting! I really appreciate the hints and tips you gave us. Thank you so much for the giveaway, too! I would love to read your books.

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  3. Well howdy! Hi Sarah! :D This was fun to read... As a writer currently working on a series, these tips were quite helpful.

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  4. I am definitely going to read these, Sarah! I admire that you are so dedicated to the trilogy. I hope I get that far in my writing, too!

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    1. xD Why are there so many Sarahs on Go Teen Writers?

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  5. Congratulations! I am going to check these books out soon. :) Thank you for the tips... I will keep them in mind if I ever undertake a trilogy.

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  6. I just wanted to say congratulations again, Sarah- I'm very excited that you have a full trilogy under your belt! Since my NaNo novel was the first in a trilogy, these hints will _really_ help out. :D

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  7. CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I know how hard it is to write a trilogy, because I've tried. I tried, and learned two things. One, it's REALLY hard. And two, I need bigger story ideas. :/

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  8. Now I want to try writing a trilogy! :) I think I should finish one novel first though. Congrats on having written an entire trilogy!

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  9. I love triligies! And I hope to write one myself. Working on the first book,although I really *just* started. Thanks for posting this!!!

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  10. Firstly, I want to to say that I LOVE the names of your books. :) I've been thinking of writing a 4-book series, and I would think most of the Trilogy stuff in this post could be applied to that.

    Thanks for the post!

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  11. Lydia Grace HartJune 7, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    These sound awesome - congrats! A trilogy is a huge accomplishment!

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  12. Sarah, magnifique, as always! :)

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  13. Also, Stephanie, I'm hosting a giveaway on my blog today and using Rafflecopter for the first time! Way easier! :)

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    1. Lol, Rachelle. I know! Kinda spooky-easy, really. Typically I put in the amount of entries on Random.org ... then we're all having to trust me to count correctly as I figure out who exactly entry number 32 was. Plus it's easier to do extra entries for liking and sharing and Tweeting and all that jazz.

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  14. First of all, I want to say "Go homeschoolers!";) I've never heard of your books until now, but I can't wait to read them! The titles and book covers definitely give me a hunger for what's inside. congratulations on your trilogy! very impressive!

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    1. If you are interested in books by homeschoolers, you ought to cheack out my blog homeschoolauthors.blogspot.com

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  15. Congratulations on writing your first trilogy! :D
    -polkadotpanda101@gmail.com

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  16. Congrats on finishing your trilogy! Some of my favorite series are trilogies and I love have such connected stories!

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  17. That's a relief. :P My first novel was part of a trilogy, even though I didn't mean it to be. So is the one I'm currently writing. Come to think of it, it doesn't feel complete when there's only one book.

    But these tips were extremely helpful! I planned out all of my books before I wrote them, but my plot bunnies mutate and it's hard to keep track of things.

    Anywho, thanks for giving us tips. Congrats on the third book!

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  18. Congrats! I'm trying to write a trilogy too! I've only finished the first one (and am working on editing it), but so much has already changed that I'm kinda nervous about trying to get the first published before I've finished writing the second and the majority of the third. We'll see what happens...

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  19. Congrats on all your success, Sarah! As another home school graduate from Texas, I found your story especially inspiring. Thank you for sharing those tips with us. :-)

    Keep up the great work!

    God bless. :-)

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  20. Way to go on the trilogy. I always liked trilogies, I'll have to give yours a shot.

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  21. Congrats on the release of the third book Sarah. :) Must be exciting! Good luck with anymore writing your going to do!

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  22. Wow! Completing a trilogy = a huge accomplishment. Congrats! I'll have to get my hands on a copy whether I win this giveaway or not :)

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  23. Congratulations on releasing your third book, Sarah! I can definitely appreciate all the work/time/sweat/blood ;) you put into creating your stories.

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  24. Oh my gosh, congrats Sarah! So blessed for you, and glad to see that your third book is published!


    Y'all, Sarah is really sweet, I am sure you will enjoy her books. :-D

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  25. Hi Sarah! Thanks for the great advice on trilogies! Still trying to figure out if my current story will be able to be contained in one book, or if it will morph! Thanks once again, and I hope you achieve great success with your stories.

    God bless you, and remember to always follow the One true King! :)

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    1. and congratulations as well! Hope you publish many more books!

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  26. Congrats on writing your trilogy, Sarah! What an epic feat that is, m'dear! I'm really looking forward to reading your Destiny Trilogy in the near future. =)

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  27. Congratulations on completely your trilogy, Sarah! That has to be so exciting, but a little bittersweet as well! I finished your first book in the series and I thought a good start to the series! I was intrigued when I heard about Quint's deepening character...Can't wait to read more! :)

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  28. I've been wanting to read there :)

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  29. Very good advice, especially part about leaving some things unresolved. There are few things I hate as much as opening the second book in a series, only to discover that a nagging problem or bad relationship, which I thought resolved forever, is back. It gets even worse when the author brushes it off with, "It worked for a while, then things just kind of fell apart." I end up feeling like the victory of the last book was fake. :)

    I haven't heard of your books except on this blog, but they look lovely. I hope to read them sometime. :D

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  30. Thanks for this post, Sarah.

    I'm writing a trilogy right now, so this is beyond helpful.

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  31. Are the rules the same for writing a four-book series? Or even more?

    Thanks for writing this post!

    :)

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    1. Abigail, I would assume so, but I haven't written a series like that yet.

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  32. I have startd many "books" hoping that they one day might become a series, so far, my dream hasn't worked out. They haven't even become one book so far. But I won't give up!

    Aren't you sad that your trilogy is now over? I always get dissapointed when I finish a series of some sort.

    Congradulations on finishing it though! I will DEFINATELY have to read these books!

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    1. Yes, I am sad. Maria, the main character is like a best friend. I think with every book you take something with you, and leave part of you in between the pages. It is a bittersweet moment to be done.

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  33. Slight problem, I tried to enter into the contest, but I don't have a Facebook or Twitter account, but I might next Saturday. Will I still be able to enter?

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    1. Blog comments will be counted too, so you're entered :)

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  34. I have yet to read the series, but your books look awesome. Thanks for taking the time to share with us all.

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  35. Thank you everyone. Part of the reason I wanted to do this is because every time I come here, I feel so blessed. Go Teen Writers is an awesome place!

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  36. Wooohoooo!!! You go Sarah!!! :) Love your writing!

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  37. I love this post. I have been working on a novel, but quickly realized that it will need to become at least two books. Thanks for all the great insight about working on a trilogy.

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  38. Sarah, congratulations on writing your trilogy! It is great that you persevered and finished publishing all 3 books! :)

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  39. I recently won book one, but have yet to read it. It'd be great to win this one as well!

    BTW, great post!

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