Trilogies and Tribulations
After a long time (too long to admit) stuck in the cul-de-sac of Writers Block Close, I have finally navigated my way out and back onto the Creative Highway. Now I am speeding ahead with the final instalment of the 'abducted' trilogy (hold on a little longer, peeps, it's nearly there).
Part of my struggles have been around the culmination of such a literary escapade. This is the first multi-part story I have ever undertaken as an author and I feel no shame in admitting that it has been a challenge. As I look in the rear-view mirror at that period of my writing life, I can reflect on what it was about this challenge that gave me so many sleepless nights.
Unravelling the established facts - No matter how much detail you put into your planning, the evolution of a three-part story can sometimes mean you have painted yourself into a corner you were not expecting to be. So I spent as much time re-reading my previous work to make sure that I knew the position from which I was writing retrospectively. The biggest fear is that an eagle-eyed fan spots a continuity error that was so easy to correct with a little care and attention in those final edits.
Checking the headlines from Day One - Like every journey, we can not help but reach the end of the road and reflect back on how it started. That is the same when looking back on the trilogy, going right back to the beginning and seeing how to loop the reader back to those early highlights during the final stages of the story. For 'abducted' we see the early moments through the eyes of our hero, Gareth. Should we see the final moments through his eyes too?
Leaving no loose ends - Some feedback I have received from 'abducted' (including literary reviews) compares it to the hit American TV show 'Lost' because of the number of characters of different backgrounds surviving together against perilous odds. One thing I need to ensure is that all of the strands of this complex storyline are tied together correctly, in a satisfying way for the reader and in a sensible way for the integrity of the plot. When you start a story with 25 characters, it is imperative that you end with 25 appropriate character resolutions so the trilogy feels like a complete story.
Avoiding "time-lag" storytelling - I published the first instalment of 'abducted' in 2008 so next year will be the ten year anniversary (a great time to publish the final instalment, don't you think?) but a lot has changed in that time. My writing style needs to appear as fluid across the three books as thought I wrote it in a single stream of consciousness. Plus there will be cultural references, a range of feedback from readers and even subtle developments in language that will stand out if I have not carefully checked the storytelling "flow" reads appropriately.
I am a huge fan of the multi-part story format (from 'The Lord of the Rings' to 'The Hunger Games' and so many more) because it is a commitment. Obviously the reader is committing to following the story to its conclusion but what about the writer? It is one of the most intensive writing experiences to plan and implement a complex trilogy, a writing experience that is full of challenges (such as long periods of writers block when you hit a difficult period). But the trilogy can be the most rewarding endeavour for a writer when you get to the end of the journey and look down upon the outcomes of your efforts.
Right, enough blogging, back to finishing this trilogy...