Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Trilogy Takeover

Is it just me or is every story being told as a trilogy these days? Right now I'm in the middle of three different trilogies and can think of another I only recently completed. It's not that I mind having books to look forward to and familiar characters to revisit, it just all seems a little too coincidental. People aren't building long series or admitting that maybe one or two books are enough to tell their story - three seems to be the magic number. Hunger Games could have stopped at two, and I can't count how many other Young Adult books are emerging right now already listing the first book as one of three on the cover.

Thinking back to when I was a kid, I can only remember two trilogies (and one technically has four books in the series although you can argue the point that the 4th is a spin-off) - the Wrinkle in Time books by Madeleine L'Engle and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Bet most of you didn't even know Little Women was a one of three, but Little Men and Jo's Boys were both excellent. What I do remember are the big series like Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High. Long before Harry Potter's seven books graced shelves everywhere, series like these two went on forever. It was like going back to an old friend each time a new one published and I liked having them around.

Feeling like you have to stretch or condense a story into three volumes is setting a poor precedent and could lead to stories being put through a formula they just don't belong in. So, I'd like to share my feelings to any future authors here -- don't fall into the trilogy trap! If you just write a good story, making it as long as it needs to be to tell the tale, and stop, you'll do just fine. If your book(s) is worth reading, people will buy it regardless of how many volumes it's in.


  1. I prefer epic 13 book master pieces that go on for so long the original author dies of a rare white blood cell disease before finishing them so another guy has to write them. A guy, might I add, who loves writing trilogies!

    Also - trilogies = 3 movies and $$$$$

  2. The more movies, the more money -- look at Harry Potter and Twilight.

  3. I agree with mike. Just keep publishing books in the the same world until you die authors!!! Then hire a new guy who write better than you to complete the story.