Trilogies. Love 'em? Hate 'em? Are they artefacts of the marketplace? Is Tolkien really to blame (seeing as it wasn't HIS fault that LOTR came out as a trilogy - at the time it was written and presented to publishers the technology wasn't there to publish a single book of that scope, never mind the fact that they didn't have enogh PAPER to do it...)?
Is a trilogy fatally necessary for a fantasy these days?
Here's my standpoint - so far, my published works in the fantasy genre consist of:
- two stand-alone but interrelated books (it is POSSIBLE to read "Embers of Heaven" without having read "THe Secrets of Jin Shei", but you'll get more out of it you DO read them in order...)
- one fantasy DUOLOGY (no, folks, there IS no book 3) which came out as "Changer of Days" in vol 1 and vol 2 in Australia and NZ and as "The Hidden Queen" and "Changer of Days" in the US - and this, to me, still remains a single book, it was written as a single book, the story arc splits over a single book, there is (as things stand) a horrible cliffhanger ending at the end of Vol 1/The Hidden Queen which simply wasn't there in the original vision because in the original vision *you would just turn the page and keep on reading*
- and yes, shoot me now, I've committed true trilogy at last, with the YA books - Worldweavers kicks off in February 2007 with "The Gift of the Unmage", followed by book 2 (which currently has a title, but so did book 1 before we changed it five times, so I'm not saying ANYTHING about what it will be called until we hash that out properly) sometime around Feb 2008 and book three the year after that. I AM finding myself writing these books... differently - not only because they are YA and I haven't written YA before now but because they are a consciously planned trilogy and the story arc reflects that.
There is an EXCELLENT discussion on this topic here
, with plenty of salient commentary from writers working in the fantasy field, booksellers, readers, interested parties across the board. THIS blog's official discussion is now also currently open for business.