How to Write a Trilogy: Book Two

How to Write a Trilogy: Book Two

Welcome back to the second part of my trilogy writing series. (You can read part one here if you missed it.) Today we're going to be looking at book two of your trilogy, the trickiest one to write. But I don't want to scare you too much before we begin, so let's just start.

In Book Two. . .

Your character is going to continue their journey. Often at this point of the series, everything has changed for them. Something happened at the end of book one to rock their world, just like at the end of the first act of a novel. Your character has to make new choices and often starts acting more than reacting. They know more about themselves now than in book one and they're ready to act on that.

This is also the point where you should really question whether you need this book. If you're writing a whole book of fluff just because you want to write a trilogy, you should rethink your game plan. If you don't think you have enough material for it, then go for a duology instead. Don't force yourself to write a whole three book series if the story doesn't need it. Duologies are getting more popular now than ever, so take some time to really think through your story and its requirements.

You Will Need

• A solid plot. Book twos can be all over the place if you don't take control of the plot and make sure it can hold up. My own book two is currently like that and needs a lot of work to solidify it into a strong story. Take your time on outlining this one and seeing how you can get your protagonist from where they were at the end of book one to where they need to be at the beginning of book three as best you can.

• A big reveal/change/plot twist. I've noticed that a lot of book twos have something big happen in them. Sometimes in the middle, sometimes at the end, sometimes both. Katniss must return to the arena. Tris discovers her whole life has been an experiment. Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas find out that Gandalf isn't dead. It helps to keep things exciting and throw something new at the protagonist.

• Personal growth. Like we've discussed, having an overarching arc or even separate arcs can be difficult to do in a series. Book two is where the protagonist will grow a lot. They'll realize new things about themselves and have to make hard choices that will define who they are as a person.

• Exploration of other characters. Book one is mostly dedicated to learning who the protagonist is, so books two and three give you a great opportunity to look at the backstory and growth of other characters. People love learning more about their favorite secondary characters.

• Evolution of the conflict. No matter how much the protagonist might think they know, there are always new facets to discover. People or situations might not be what they first seemed. The problem could be much bigger than it appeared. Someone you thought was a good guy might turn out to be a traitor. Things have to change, that's all.

Writing Book Two

Like I said at the beginning, I think book two is the trickiest to write. Book one is dedicated to introducing everything and book three is the big climax. So what are you going to do in book two? That's why having a solid idea of what you're going to do throughout the whole series, or book two will become a a big muddled mess.

Book two is an excellent time to explore more of the world you've built, if it's a fictional one. (Unless, of course, you do something like I did in my book two, but I can't tell you what because spoilers.) People are sure to be interested in seeing more, so give the people what they want.

Things also start escalating in book two. By the second half, everything should be starting to point the protagonist towards the climax of book three. Things should also be getting bigger and worse as it goes along, although not as big or as bad as it could be, since you need to save some things for book three and final climax.

If I could change anything about writing book two, I would have come up with a better plot. Mine is a kind of a mish-mash of ideas and plot lines at the moment. However, as I'm editing book one, I'm getting more and more better ideas every day. That's why good outlining is vital.

What are your thoughts on writing book two? What's something that you think is important to include? Tell me in the comments.

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How to Write a Trilogy: Book One


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