The trilogy and how it works in fantasy

J-A is a very happy author, having reached 61,597 words.  Only a few more to go til finished (at 100,000 – I’m in denial, I suspect).

And that brings me to a point.  When selecting the genre you’re writing, it’s important to get an idea of how many words you’ll need to write.  If you’re thinking fantasy, you’re looking at a minimum of 100,000 words per book, and you have to write in trilogies.  At least until you’re famous with a firm fan base, then you can maybe stretch the genre a little.

This sounds like a huge undertaking, and it is, but I find it helps to think about it in terms of ‘beginning (setting up and things start getting wobbly), middle (or transition) and end (protagonist triumphs, evil is overthrown and everything’s OK again)’. 

In Book one, we meet the protagonist, find out who he or she is, what conflict they’re facing and how overpowering this conflict seems.  The status quo ends for the protagonist, and they’re gradually faced with ever increasing problems. End of book one – the protagonist has just gotten themselves into deep trouble. 

Book two is about the protagonist going through hell, so he or she has the wind knocked out of them, they’re wiped out and then build themselves back up again until they’re ready to come out fighting (end Book two).

Book three is about the protagonist (and chronies of course) saying ‘Bother it!  I’m strong!  I can do this’ and throwing themselves back into the fray with a new purpose and energy.  They win, and everything is better than it was before.

Those are my thoughts anyway.  It works for me.  Still, no denying it, 100,000 is a lot of words … better get back to it.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Graham Storrs
    Aug 11, 2009 @ 13:06:55

    Hmmm. Sounds like a three-act play.

    Those big, fat, three-book fantasy stories are a huge commitment for the reader too!


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