Trilogies

Presumptuous of me to post this, I know. I have nothing published much less ever having ever been offered a contract for a trilogy, but I can still hate trilogies.

And I do.

Much to my chagrin as a pre-teen, there was a book I loved, but at the ending, the author hadn’t wrapped everything up. Up until then, I had read books like Nancy Drew where is a series, but each book was a complete story. This left the story unfinished.

I noticed then it was the first book of a trilogy. I went to the library to get the next book in the series, only to learn it wasn’t written yet. Much less the third book. I was angry, frustrated, and sad.

Angel
Will she die? What does it mean to her to literally trade hearts with someone? What about the Witch? Tune in next year to find out! 

The author didn’t finish the series until I was long over it. Still rankles, though, even now. I remember the excitement of finally getting to see what happened after begging my mom to take me to the library and finally getting her to agree. And then the devastation at learning there was no ending to read. I never did go back and finish the trilogy.

After that, I always checked to see if a book was part of trilogy. And if it was, I wouldn’t read any of them until all three were written and in my hands. This is true even now. I’m the reader, dammit, I don’t want to wait a year or more for the next installment. I don’t want to be left hanging not knowing what’s going to happen to characters I’m invested in enough that I am willing to buy a second book to see what happens to them.

Fortunately, I have not witnessed this trilogy phenomenon in the same format in romance novels. The handful of trilogies I’ve read usually involve three different female leads and three different male leads. Each book is self-contained with the romance between one set of characters being resolved. There may be an overarching plot that ties them all together, but this is secondary to the romance.

I still wait until I have all three to read any of them.

I have also seen a book “series” where all the stories are set in the same world, and you may see characters you’ve met before, but again, each book is self-contained. Kind of like my Nancy Drew books, but without the single protagonist tying them together.

Not sure where this trilogy business came from. I’ve heard it started with Lord of the Rings from JRR Tolkien. He never intended it as a trilogy, but it was too long to publish as a single novel. Guess they hadn’t seen Stephen King’s The Stand yet.

I’m sure there’s a business reason for it. Maybe it makes sure people buy all three books. But only if the publishers are patient enough to wait for the release of the third book as I know I am not alone on this. I’ve also wondered why they don’t release all three at the same time. Give the reader what they want and get us to buy three books as soon as we know we love the first one. Then I don’t have to remember I love it in a year when the next installment comes out.

2 thoughts on “Trilogies

  1. I totally disagree! 🙂

    As someone who is writing a trilogy right now (well editing the first book in it right now) I love them. I love lots of series. I am also entirely unafraid to grab a book out of order. If the book grabs me hard enough I’ll find others. Not always in the right order either. I also have no problem quitting a series or trilogy part way through. I’m trying to get better at quitting a single book, but sometimes I will fight through it, even when it is clear I’m going to hate it.

    As far as publishing I know one of the pieces of advise is that your book, even if it is the first in a series should stand completely on its own. And that publisher (for new authors at least) rarely pick up a series. They buy your first book and then wait to see how it does. So if you are assuming your first book is really pt 1 of 3 you may have some trouble.

    On the other side I’ve read that some publishers don’t like pieces that are entirely stand alone works, they like the potential for series.

    All of this is just Stuff I Read On The Internets. So you know how accurate that may be. But I do love a good series, it lets me feel like it’s ok to be invested in the characters, I’ll get to spend more time with them.

  2. Just goes to show how different readers are!

    There was a popular series that a co-worker loaned me back before children. I forced myself through the first book. It was meh. I was beyond surprised there were three more books in the series, especially as the first one seemed to wrap it up. Might be what you’re talking about – publisher wanted more when the first book did well. I made it trough one more book in the series and called it. I just didn’t like any of the characters or care what happened to them.

    I have a much easier time doing that in a series than I do a book, too. Although, I am notorious for reading the last few pages of a book to make sure it has a happy ending before buying the book. Drives DH crazy. My mom and sister do it, too, so I know where I learned it.

    Awesome that you’re working on a trilogy! That is an undertaking!

    For me, the first book I wrote is standalone. The second one I’m working on is in the same world. You get to see some of the same characters, but the story focuses on different ones. You could read them in either order and not miss anything. Or have to wait to see what happens. Patience is not my strong suit.

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