Around the first of March each year, a good buddy of mine immerses himself in the study of what he calls “bracketology.”
I can’t say for sure that he coined the phrase, but he’s a sharp guy, so I’ll give him the credit until I know better.
Bracketology is the artistic and scientific study of the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament. Each spring hundreds of thousands of college basketball enthusiasts make their selections in the 68-team tournament. It’s one of the most exciting events in all of sports, better known to the purists as The Big Dance.
My friend’s study has inspired me to take on a new personal area of research in the world of writing. I call it Trilology.
And until someone else claims it, I’m taking the credit for the establishment of that new science.
TRILOGY: a set of three works of art that are connected, and can be seen either as a single work, or as three individual works.
Trilogies date back as far as 458 B.C., to the ancient Greek plays in the Festival in Athens. The Oresteia is one of the few surviving trilogies of that early era.
Some reputable trilogies we all know:
- Francis Ford Coppola‘s The Godfather films.
- Star Wars (actually two trilogies – the original and the prequel.
- J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.
I’ve been fully engaged in the book-writing process for five months now, and if there’s one lesson I’ve learned, it’s about patience. It’s a tough, but valuable lesson for someone with my personality.
But the lessons learned have been nothing short of mini-epiphanies.
The tedious trek of writing and marketing a book is slow, and it forces you to think. And it brings on new ideas a writer may otherwise never have envisioned.
On reflection, the single-best move I made in the book-writing process was hiring a seasoned editor before a single manuscripted word was written. I pitched the idea to Brad Harris during a four-hour breakfast last March, and it was my good fortune he signed on to the task.
Brad is more than an editor. He’s a teacher. I thought I was a decent writer before my relationship with Brad. Not so much, I now see. But he’s made me a decent writer through the process. For the best advice Brad’s given me, see this post: http://wp.me/p2bjEC-nE
Just one of the benefits of our relationship is Brad’s guidance in helping me see the bigger picture.
Some 10,000 words into the initial draft of Light Wins, Brad identified the sequel – an anti-thesis to the original work we’d title Dark’s Dominion.
At the time, I couldn’t remotely conceive the anti-thesis of the original premise in a new body of work, but over the slow process of writing, and thinking, the idea took root. So now, the sequel is being written in my head as the first manuscript is being completed. It’s a very cool process, and it came only through patience.
Excited about the process of a follow-up book, my mind really started churning.
When I understood just how the Dark’s Dominion anti-thesis would flesh out, I could see a third work as complimentary to the first two, and the idea for Hope’s Horizon was born around 1:30 this morning.
And now, thanks to the 24-hour customer support of my friends at godaddy.com the domains are securely tucked away.
Just looking at that thrills me.
But now, there’s a whole new set of questions and ideas to ponder, especially when it comes to the business of marketing a trilogy.
- Do you write one book, release it, then begin work on the second?
- Do you complete one book, get half-way through the second, release the first, then come out with the sequel soon thereafter?
- Do you write all three books together, and release them in drip fashion or all at once?
If anyone has any experience or advice on this, I’d surely welcome your thoughts.
Patience has been a good thing, but I’m still on the high-end of the learning curve.
(Bloggers Note: You may view additional posts from my series, How to Write Copy that Kills @ http://wp.me/p2bjEC-nX)
- What It Takes to Write Copy That Kills: Part 2: Thinking (stevenwwatkins.wordpress.com)
- The Hunger Games trilogy (igeekoutoverclouds.com)