Thursday, April 05, 2012

Thinking Of Reading...Or Writing...A Trilogy?

Last night I finished reading the third volume of a trilogy, one of those kinds with a story arch that covers the whole three books. Some thoughts:

1. There are very few stories that truly need multiple volumes in order to tell the tale. Seriously. Or maybe I'm the only one who notices all the padding and rambling about that goes on in some of these things. And that may be the case, since there are so many trilogies out there.

2. People in love are not very interesting. Okay, maybe if there is something beyond the love story itself to distract me, I can tolerate one volume of getting together. But once they are a couple in love, going on and on being in love, my patience wears thin.

3. What was really fascinating about the third book was that there was another story that really, desperately wanted to be told. I can't remember when I've read a book in which another character and another relationship vied for dominance the way a character and his relationship with the male protagonist did in this one. It would have been a far, far more interesting story than the romance, in my very humble opinion. But the author was trapped because she'd made a commitment to the romance in book one and what could she do about it now? I have to hand it to her for sticking with the program.

This is one of those cases in which I wasn't crazy about the book, but the experience of reading it was valuable.


tanita davis said...

Point #1: After this year's Cybils, I chime in loudly on the refrain: YES, yes, yes. O, truly, YES.

Point #2: It ruins TV shows, too. Why are we as human beings so invested in "the chase?" Chicken vs. Egg question: do we, as writers, reinforce the idea of relationships/steadfastness/monogamy as boring? Or is that just who/how we are?

Point #3: I sometimes think that's admirable; I sometimes think the writer's writing group could have worked harder on helping her see a way out of the choice she made in Book 1. Relationships, in real life, often change to something else midstream. Friendship, instead of The Only One Thing I Want Or I'll Just Die. There are always options for the writer, aren't there? Isn't writing always malleable, like painting - you just blend in another color and keep going??? (Please agree with me and support my rose-colored worldview.)

gail said...

Point 3--So the writer could have found a way to let the story evolve? I guess I agree with that, though she would have had to do some serious thinking about whether she wanted to shift the whole trilogy away from romance OR let the romantic relationship move away from the early stuff that publishers love into a more mature relationship where the couple deals with life together. The leads were still teenagers. I don't know how much maturity we should expect from them and have them still be realistic. She could have also had them break up so the guy could deal with this whole other thing! Yeah, I'd love to see that happen in a romantic trilogy. Seriously. I would.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the difference between "plotters" and "organic writers." Don't people who want to write a story over multiple volumes need to lean toward being plotters to avoid having this kind of thing happen? I can very easily imagine it happening to me, but I'm an organic writer. I would have only the vaguest idea--if that--about what was going to happen in volume 3 when I signed the contract for a trilogy.