Writing is a challenging and frustrating activity. It is creative, but sometimes it is difficult to show up at the computer every day. The most onerous part of writing is letting go of the extraneous paragraph or pages; if they don't move the story forward, then they need to go. Writers do not like to delete their hard work and I am one of them. It is common knowledge that writers over-write; it's part of the process.
I had to cut one hundred pages from my first novel. It was becoming impossible to keep dates and characters consistent and there was so much more I wanted to include. My characters seemed to protest when I had decided to write one book. I was finding writing one novel wouldn't bring clarity to the story.
In this blog post I will share 5 reasons why I chose to write a trilogy to deal with the anxiety over over-writing and the disorienting process of deciding what to cut.
1) Sometimes what you cut from one novel can be used in the next book.
There were passages from my first book, Between the Cracks, that I rewrote and used in my next book, The Ascent. This also applies to characters that don't fit; sometimes you can re-purpose them for a future novel. I found this to be encouraging since I felt that the passages I had to cut were usable in the future. Nothing is ever wasted.
2) Get to know your characters on a deep level.
I found this to be tremendously satisfying. As you bring characters from one novel to the next you will find that you automatically know their mannerisms, likes, dislikes, and quirks. Don't get me wrong, you need to ensure that they grow, but some characteristics don't change. You want your readers to recognize them when they appear in the second or third book. While I knew I had to let go of certain characters when writing one book, I could see room for them in the next.
3) There is no need to tie up loose ends.
I found that some things couldn't be resolved by the end of my first novel, but I had the freedom to explore these issues in the next books. This encourages the writer to slow down and accept that he or she doesn't have all the answers. This embraces the mystery of the writing process and the reader will be hooked.
4) More room to play.
A writing life can be serious, with very little play. When you write a trilogy, you have space and time to play with timelines and characters. If you would like your character to experience a different time or place, you can creatively work that into your plot. If it doesn't fit the characters will let you know, but you have revealed the realm of possibilities. Again, the timeline change may not be appropriate in one novel, but will in another.
5) Easier to market and sell a trilogy.
Readers love trilogies and a major benefit of writing a trilogy is selling all 3 novels together. I also wrote my novels to stand on their own; it is not necessary for a reader to have read the first novel to follow and benefit from the second. I found that doing an author signing with books that are connected to each other makes for a more streamlined experience. Chances are if the reader is interested in one of the books, they will eventually buy the others.
Carmela Cattuti started her writing career as a journalist for the Somerville News in Boston, MA. After she finished her graduate work in English Literature from Boston College she began to write creatively and taught a journal writing course at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education As fate would have it, she felt compelled to write her great aunt's story. “Between the Cracks” has gone through several incarnations and will now become a trilogy. Her second novel, The Ascent has just been published.To connect with Carmela email her firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her website at www.ccattuticreative.com/carmela-cattuti-books.