Monday, 1 October 2012

The Legend Riders - Why a Trilogy?

The Wing Warrior, Book One of The Legend Riders trilogy, recently received a very good review on (you can see it here). The book was given four out of five stars, and was generally received positively. However, the reviewer did quite strongly criticise the fact the book is the first part in a series, claiming that there is an overabundance of such series in the Kindle marketplace. It's a fair point, and I actually tend to agree: Quite often I will look at the books available on Amazon and I will grow increasingly frustrated when I keep seeing "book one of..." in the descriptions.

So, if I actually find the increasing number of series on the market to be frustrating, why did I decide to make The Wing Warrior the first part of a trilogy?

Most people would assume series are written for financial reasons: Quite simply, if people read your first book and like it, they will want to read the rest in the series. If they read the book and don't like it, they may still buy the rest in the series out of some kind of obligation to know how everything turns out in the end. In my mind, this is something of a double-edged sword: Yes, you may be able to hook people in with your first book and encourage them to buy more; but what you are more likely to do is turn them off buying your first book because they are not sure they will like it, and they do not want to feel like they are only getting a "taster" rather than the main event. There is absolutely nothing worse than reading a book you didn't enjoy all that much, only to find out that it ends on a cliffhanger.

Besides, the argument that you can hook in a reader with the first book and guarantee sales of subsequent titles can be used just the same when talking about books that are not part of a series. If your first book is good enough, people will look for you in the future, and they will buy your books because they like your style, even if your stories are unrelated.

And yet, considering all that, I still wrote a trilogy. The reason was, I never really thought of The Legend Riders as three books; it is a single story that happens to be broken up into three parts. By that I mean, when I sat down to write The Wing Warrior, I already knew exactly what was going to happen throughout the course of The Legend Riders; but there was so much content I knew it was never going to fit in a single book. The book simply has too many characters and plot strands to have a satisfactory resolution in a single volume.

Take, for example, the characters of Sky and Glass. They are the main female characters. Glass is the younger sister of the main hero, and Sky is a girl who is stuck looking after her drunk father after her mother walked out on them. Both girls are living in the shadow of the men in their lives. But over the course of the story, these two girls will become far more powerful than any of the male characters. I can't really say much more without giving the game away, but their transition from put-upon underdogs to powerful heroines would have seem rushed and unrealistic without having the room to develop their characters over the course of the trilogy.

Of course, once I had decided to write a trilogy, I was able to use that construct to my advantage, allowing each story to focus on one of the main characters. In book one, we follow the adventures of Nimbus and his dragon; in book two, we learn how Nimbus must travel into the realms of the dead to find a unicorn for his sister, Glass; and in book three... well, I'll say no more for now.

The trilogy structure also allowed me to introduce a running gang about Nimbus, but I can't really tell you about that either!

So, there it is; I wrote a trilogy. I wrote it all in one go, flowing straight from one book to the next, and in my head it will always be a single work. I appreciate some people may look at The Legend Riders sub-heading and pass the book by, but I hope that enough people will be prepared to give it a shot. And there is a bit of good news for people who are worried they are going to be hooked into reading all three books: As already stated, I hate getting to the end of a book and finding a cliffhanger, so The Legend Riders adopts what I refer to as the Star Wars arc. Simply put, book one, The Wing Warrior, is a complete book in its own right. It has a definite ending, and most (not all) of the plot lines are tied up neatly enough so that you can happily avoid reading the rest of the series should you so choose. That way, if you give the book a try and hate it, you won't feel cheated, and you won't feel the need to buy the rest of the series.

Of course, you're going to want to buy the rest of the series anyway. Trust me.

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