Monday, 8 February 2016

Do the Best Things Really Come in Threes?

Like many people I love a good trilogy. Every Christmas the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit boxsets come out. From Star Wars to Back to the Future three seems to be the magic number. But is it really so great to get a triple shot of everything?

Perhaps it shows that the number three, and trilogies, have been weighing heavily on my mind lately. Should the first book set the scene, the middle one add depth and the third a conclusion? Or is each book/movie a story on its own just set in the same universe?

I guess my curiosity stems from the fact that I am days away from completing the third book in my Princess Trilogy, Plastic Princess. I've spent so much time in the world of the Princess stories that thinking about the characters has become second nature. I half expect one of them to call me or send in a request for a Skype call. But when do you call time on a series?

For me, my characters continue to exist long after I've written the final words on the last page of their story. I've never believed in finite endings. They are too simple, too swift, too unsatisfying. But things do have to end somewhere else I'd never be able to start work on a new project.

So is spending three books with characters you grow to know and love enough? With my Avalon series I went to four books and have planned out the fifth. And still there could be more. Characters, and their stories, are forever unfolding.

As a reader I love the familiarity of reading a series of books and falling back into the pages of somewhere I know. The characters start to feel like friends. But as much as I love reading through a series I love exploring new books and new voices too.

It's going to be hard to conclude my Princess Trilogy. Tilly's story is far from over, but a part of it will be finished for her, I hope.


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