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My formula for a trilogy is that the first book sets up the characters and their world; the second book turns everything upside down; and the third creates a new world comprised of elements of the first and second.

Think of the original Star Wars trilogy: the first introduces Luke, Vader and so on. And then the third episode shows Luke coming to terms with this new reality and forging a new identity based on this new information—to the point where the young farm boy becomes enough like his father to go up against the Emperor but retains enough of his former self not to fall to the dark side.

By the end of the second book, the reader should be wondering how the hell these people are going to triumph in the end, as everything seems so hopeless and desperate.


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This approach gives the trilogy the appearance of a sine wave. The plot starts in the middle, rises slightly at the end of the first book, and then plunges down in the second, only to rise again in the third. Second books are also great places to expand upon beloved characters. In Fleet of Knives , the second volume of the Embers of War trilogy, I present my characters with the unforeseen consequences of their actions in the first book.

Something that seemed like a good thing turns out to be very, very bad. Plus, I introduce a new threat that has only previously been hinted at and turn one of the characters against the rest. Gareth was born and raised in Bristol, UK, and was once fortunate enough to have Diana Wynne Jones critique one of his early short stories over coffee.


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  • Lesson Plan West with the Night by Beryl Markham;
  • If I Cant Love Her.
  • Writing The Second Book in a Trilogy: A Guest Post.
  • Dexter and the Decision.
  • Entre deux mondes (French Edition).
  • Later, he went on to study creative writing under Helen Dunmore at the University of Glamorgan. Gareth has run creative writing workshops and given guest lectures at UK universities, been a guest speaker at the Arvon Foundation in Shropshire, and given talks about creative writing at various literature festivals around the country. He has written scripts for corporate training videos, and is currently at work on a screenplay.

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    Fleet of Knives is out now from Titan Books. You can find Gareth on Twitter and his website. Nicole Evans is a writer of fantasy and science fiction. She is currently unpublished and is working fervently to get the "un" removed from that statement.

    From Annihilation to Acceptance: A Writer’s Surreal Journey - The Atlantic

    With six books under her belt and more on the way, she loves to write about destined heroes who fail anyway, twisting classic tropes on their heads, animals who feel more like people and, hopefully, about characters and worlds for you to have an opinion about. She really can't wait for you to read these stories. Considering she has run out of space for putting rejections letters up on her wall, Nicole now uses her spare time doing the typical things that nerds do: blogging, dying repeatedly during video games which she believes is retribution for the characters' she's killed , wishing she was the character she is currently reading about and trying to fight off the real world by living in her own head, with varying degrees of success.

    Nicole has a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Film and Media Studies, and works as an evening librarian assistant. View all posts by Nicole Evans. This is SUCH good info to have. I highly recommend following him on Twitter, if you use that.

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    He writes great advice like this all the time. It was a very simple line, but I sat back and stared at it for a while:. I wrote a lot more words after those ones.


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    • Soon, I had an exceptionally rough draft of a book. First, it was YA, and I was used to writing adult. Second, it was historical fantasy, not high fantasy. I loved it. I hated it. I dreamed about it. I shoved it into a corner. I revised and revised and revised and revised. It had branded itself on me. These books, these characters, refused to let me go. I went to conferences and took notes and entered contests and rewrote my query a million times. I did everything humanly possible to understand—really, truly understand—how this game works, how this story works, how we fit into things.

      Then, a miracle: an agent loved my book enough to offer representation. Since signing with the wonder that is Laura Crockett , I have traveled a million miles in just a few months. Kind of literally, since I had a huge trip to India right in the middle of all this. It was so crazy. Revisions, and submission, and hoping and despairing and bouncing between high and low, high and low.