Ashley Harrison is days away from releasing her second book in her highly-anticipated young adult trilogy, The Secret War of Coexistence. Therefore, we thought we’d let her take the mic. Read Ashley’s step-by-step on how to write a captivating trilogy:
You’ve just written your first book and couldn’t be happier. The only problem is, you have to write two more in order to continue with this story! The thought of writing a trilogy can be overbearing, but you have to be able to focus the millions of thoughts flowing through your mind and form them neatly into the world you strive to create. So, let’s go over some tips on how to start your journey with writing a trilogy!
Step One: Have an Idea!
Probably seems obvious, but let’s unpack this more. It’s not enough to just say you want to write a book, let alone three books. You need to know EXACTLY what kind of story you want to create. Who is the main character and what are they like? What kind of world do they live in? What is the main plot? What kind of journey will they be going on? How will the story end? These are all things you should think of before you do anything else. Know the foundation of your novel, and let the other details fall in place.
Step Two: Outlines and Notes are your best friend!
Some authors may be able to just start writing from the very first chapter and keep going from there, but if you’re a new author with no writing experience like I was, you can easily get steered off track and get lost. This is where creating an outline of your book will come in handy! Simply creating a chronological list of events and main plot twists that will occur in the book will help you see where you want your story to go, and as mentioned before, you can add in those details once you start writing and change things along the way as needed. One additional list I created was a list of each character in my book(s) and all of their features; eye color, hair color, age, etc. It can be easy to forget what some of your characters look like, especially if you’re writing a series. Keep your memory fresh!
Step Three: Understand Your Character’s Personalities
One of the most fun parts about reading a book is seeing how characters can change throughout the story. This doesn’t mean that they have to be completely different, but more that your characters have some kind of growth or go through a challenge that forces them to make certain decisions that will later dictate how everyone else reacts and how it will impact the storyline. In my own writing, I based two characters off of myself: one is reserved and a little cynical, the other very outgoing and friendly. I’ve also used people from my real-life encounters to help me write supporting characters. Having real-life interactions and translating them into your characters is one of the best ways to help you create their personality and relationship with other characters. The more real you can make your characters react, the better your readers will be able to connect to the story.
Step Four: It’s Your Story, Do Whatever You Want!
Let’s be honest. We’ve all probably read a book and something happens along the way that makes you go from happy to sad or angry, and you think, “Why would the author do that? Everything was going so well!” The answer is, well, because they’re the author and they can do whatever they want, and so can you! If you want a character to go through something tragic because you want their personality to shift or develop in a certain way, then by all means, bring it on! If you want your character to be a complete jerk and burn all their bridges because later on they will need to repair those bridges to become the final product you envisioned, go for it. You can’t be scared of making readers angry or hurting their feelings. You should strive to take your readers on a rollercoaster of emotions and make them react in different ways. Life isn’t perfect all the time, and the story in your novel doesn’t have to be either!
I hope these tips helped you. Just remember, before you were an author, you were a reader and always will be. Remember how you felt with your favorite book, and strive to recreate that feeling in your own writing. Keep your thoughts organized, and take your story one word at a time. Best of luck to you all!