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Fiction: The magic number

Commissioned to write a trilogy, children’s author Lari Don decided to tackle all three books at once. Learn from her experience here

Writing a trilogy is just like writing three novels, isn’t it? Only with the same characters, the same fictional world and the same research. So it should be easier and less time-consuming than writing three separate novels, shouldn’t it?

That’s what I thought when I agreed to write an adventure trilogy for my publishers Floris Books. After all, I’d already written two standalone novels and a series of four novels for 8 to 12-year-olds. How much harder could a trilogy be?

I soon discovered writing a trilogy is much more than three times harder than writing three novels: it’s the kind of challenge that forces you to grow as a writer.

As a writer, you can’t think of a trilogy as three separate books, loosely linked by a main character or a magical world. You have to see it as one long story, developed across three books, but also as three coherent individual stories. Balancing those four stories – one overarching, and one for each book – is incredibly complex.

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Star interview with Crime Novel of the Year winner and griplit star Clare Mackintosh 1 topic, 100 books: Make the most of your speciality Before you write a word: Start your writing life the right way 10 top tips: How the pros keep writing Author experiences: • Going back to school for a creative writing MA • "How I wrote three books at once" • Readers share their success stories WIN £119,000 in writing prizes News you can use! 20 packed pages of Writers' News

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