EelKat Wendy C Allen - zdark Fantasy Author



Writing Trilogy or Series vs Stand-Alone Novels: 
Do most aspiring writers plan for more than one book?




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>>As it stands right now, I have only one book planned but the more and more I read on these writing subreddits, many first-time authors are planning for a trilogy of books. Is this smart? Unrealistic? Should I stretch my current story to span a series or keep it as one and come up with ideas for a 2nd or even 3rd book? Is this even a good idea?

Though I write novels as my full time career today, I did not originally, nor did I plan to. I started out not even planning to write at all, but in school (in 1978) we were given a writing assignment. I can't remember today, what the assignment even asked us to do, but the end result was I wrote a 16 page short story (I think it was about 3,000 words, more or less). The teacher loved my story and entered it into some writing contest. I never knew what became of the contest, but the story went on to be published. Nothing big, just a small local magazine.

At the time, I had no interest in writing at all. My concept of where books came from was warped. I don't know where I thought they came from, but the idea that a person actually sat down and wrote the stories, was not something my mind had grasped. Books just existed. I never gave any thought to where they came from or how they were made.

However, a few weeks after writing that story, the teacher was back with a copy of it in print. Something hit me then. Seeing my words in print, was a weird surreal feeling. My mind suddenly went: "OMG! This is how books get made! Someone actually sat down and wrote it." It was just this weird mind-blowing revelation to me that, for every book out there, there was a person who spent time creating it.

Now, I loved books and reading. I was of the mind set that reading a book was no different then going on a road trip. Going on a trip I got to visit places I'd never seen before. Reading a book did the same thing, plus I got to meet exciting people. And once I realized people were creating those worlds, suddenly I was on fire with the idea: "I want to do that! I want to create place people can visit in books!"

After that, I went back to that first story and started asking myself: "What is ___ had done this instead of that?" So I wrote another story to find out what would happen. Then I was "But what is this had happened instead?" or "What if it had started snowing?" or "What if I add a new character?" Before I knew it I was just pumping out stories. They were all super short. None of them over 5,000 words. I ended up writing hundreds of short stories all set in one setting and all following the lives of a single group/family of people.

That went on for well over 20 years before one day my brain thought: "I could tell more detailed stories if I made them longer. I should try writing a novel."

Today my series, still follows the life of one character and his friends and family, and now spans 130 novels and 2,000 short stories published since 1978. I'm currently working on an additional 81 unpublished drafts in various stages of completion, and if I continue to write this the rest of my life, I estimate it'll eventually reach 400 novels.

And yet, there was never a point where I thought: "I'm going to write a series." I never planned to write a series. It just happened as a result of my constantly asking "But what if...?" I had just created a character who I found fascinating and intriguing and wanted to learn everything I could about him.

>>many first-time authors are planning for a trilogy of books. Is this smart? Unrealistic?

If it's their goal or what the story needs to be told completely, then it is what they should do. It is important that they do what is right for them and their story.

>>Should I stretch my current story to span a series or keep it as one and come up with ideas for a 2nd or even 3rd book? Is this even a good idea?

Nope. No reason to. It is important that you do what is right for you and your story. If you story only needs one volume then there is no need to add more or stretch it out.

Stand alone novels far out sell series and trilogy novels and if trade publishing instead of self-publishing are far easier to get accepted for publication. The majority of publishing houses won't even look at a multi-volume series.

>>If it doesn't come out right, will you rewrite it when you feel like you've refined your skills enough to do the story justice?

Oh yes, always. Rewriting and editing, revising, improving, and changing the story around are just a part of the writing process. No one ever publishes an unedited first draft and ends up with something they are proud of.

>>as it stands I can complete the current story I want to tell in one book. I also don't want to exhaust myself by undertaking a series revolving around one idea or world.

Then there is no reason why you should. Just write the story you envision and leave it at that. Nothing wrong with that at all.




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