A tale of a trilogy

As some of you may remember from when I was first talking about the book deal for The Way We Fall, this “series” was originally intended to be only two books.  I knew before I even started writing TWWF that there was more to the story, more than I could fit in one book, and one of my biggest hopes was that I’d get to write that sequel.  When my awesome publisher offered to buy three books, I was ecstatic.  I just figured the third book would be an unrelated standalone or the start of a new series.

So what happened?  Well, basically, the book happened.  Or rather, books.  I sat down to write the first draft of the sequel last winter, following my outline, and it just kept getting… longer.  Finally, when I was almost at the midpoint of the outline and had well over 200 pages of book, I realized I couldn’t ignore this.  There was no way I could tell all the story I wanted to in a comparably-sized book (The Way We Fall is just over 300 pages) without cutting so much none of it made any sense.  Heck, I could already see places where I need to go back and flesh scenes out more!

But there was that third book that hadn’t been decided on, which made a possible solution obvious. I emailed my editor with a brief outline of what I intended to happen in the story and where it could potentially be split in two, and asked her what she thought. When she gave the go ahead to turning what was once a duology into a trilogy, I was both relieved and nervous. I never meant to write a trilogy! How was I going to make what had been half a book a fulfilling book on its own? Few things are more unsatisfying to me than a middle book without real plot and character arcs, so I hardly wanted to do that to my readers.

Thankfully, it appears my subconscious may have known this was going to happen all along. Although there are some major threads that continued through the single sequel, I’d already seen it as having a major turning point in the middle that changed how the characters viewed and approached the problems facing them. I just had to strength the arcs in each half, and voila! Two books.

So far that seems to be working out all right. My editor did not get back to me after reading Book 2 saying, “Er, maybe this isn’t such a great idea after all.” Phew! The ending is more cliff-hanger-y than I’d prefer, but, well, if it was that or giving you only a highly truncated version of the story, I’ll go with the cliff-hanger any day. (Forgive me.)

All of which goes to show that creativity is a strange and mysterious thing, and you never quite know what you’re writing until you’ve written it.


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