As promised, my next topic will be trilogies. As everyone knows, YA in particular has been bursting at the seams with trilogy after trilogy. There are pros and cons to this tactic. For the authors that can do this well, this can mean the big bucks and a fan following for their novels. In addition, they don't have to leave characters they have grown to love and develop.
I am currently reading the Across the Universe trilogy by Beth Revis, which inspired this post. She has done a terrific job at not falling in any of the following pitfalls. See my review of the second book, A Million Suns at:
At the same time, there are a lot of pitfalls that authors can easily fall into.
1. Not making each book essentially a stand alone book. The Hawk and His Boy, by Christopher Bunn is one book that comes to mind. The beginning of the book is very strong and then we are introduced to more characters and plot lines than we can count. And get this, none of the plot lines intersect AT ALL during the span of this book. Bunn writes in his author note that these books are not supposed to be read individually but as a three book set. My question then is, then why have three separate books?
2. Using the first book as development of the world without its own story arc. This relates to the first point. But if the first book is just description, most readers won't tune in to the next two if there is nothing there that grabs their interests.
3. The trilogy wasn't planned, but the first book was a success so they tacked on more books. This tactic becomes pretty obvious. We see this more in blockbuster movies (Transformers anyone??) but sometimes books fall into the same traps.
4. The first book is so complete and satisfying as a stand alone, there is no interest in picking up the next one. Even though it needs to be its own book, there have to be strands that are left open and interesting enough for the reader to be driven to pick up the next two.
5. The second book is just filler to get to the third book. Funny story. I was reading Kelley Armstrong's Darkest Power trilogy a while ago. I really enjoyed reading the first book and was excited to get my hands on the next two. I accidentally got the third one first and was blown away-- I thought this is really where it starts! Then I realized I had missed the whole second book without realizing it (I didn't miss it at all and my sister told me it wasn't worth reading), and the third book was the final one and left many plot lines open.
What experiences have you all had with trilogies?