When Does a Trilogy Become a Series?

A while ago, I was inspired to write a trilogy. Why a trilogy, I hear you ask? Well I wanted to tell a story about the relationships between four people, and the effects of an inappropriate desire between two of them. But I needed far more than the usual 95000–100,000 words my books usually run to, to do it justice. I thought three books were just about perfect, so I could really delve into the whys and wherefores of them. As an author, for me character is everything, and I needed time to really tell their story, but no-one would buy a 300,000-word book epic. Ergo, the idea of a trilogy called Three Deadly Glimpses was born.

My characters include Rick, a twenty-year veteran homicide cop who is trying to rebuild his marriage to Juliet after he had a stupid affair in a moment of weakness. He is suddenly paired with beautiful Patricia Holmes, who is a criminal psychologist in the hunt for a serial killer. Pat is married to Tom, a controlling, overbearing surgeon who resents his wife’s obvious attraction to her new partner and the impact on their marriage that working with the police is having.

Each book is a stand-alone story of the pair’s hunt for a different murderer, while they fight their desires for each other and the inexorable deterioration of the two marriages. The books are titled: Glimpse, Memoir of a Serial Killer, Glimpse, The Beautiful Deaths, and Glimpse, The Tender Killer. As you might guess, use of the word glimpse in each title signifies that I am going to give the reader a glimpse into their troubled psyches and explain why and how they became murderous.

Recently, book 3 was released in audio, ebook, and paperback and I was thrilled with the response. On Amazon (US), it picked up 30 reviews in the first month and was very well received. I told the story I wanted to tell, the readers were generally delighted with the result and I was writing another book in a completely different genre, and then . . . it started. My wonderful editor, the narrator, and some readers all wanted to know what happens next, some quite vehemently. Even my sister phoned me, and she lives 5000 kms away, to tell me how much she loved the book, and immediately asked when the next Glimpse is coming out so she can find out what happens next. Don’t get me wrong, this is wonderfully flattering and I am not complaining, but my trilogy now has to be a series. I jokingly said to someone recently I have the first trilogy of four books and the person I was talking to said no, it had happened many times before, so I did some digging.

Most people think that The Lord of The Rings is a trilogy; wrong, it was one book. However, it has at times been published as three, but on another occasion it was a series of seven. My favourite trilogy of all time is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by the late Stieg Larsson who died after presenting the three books to his publisher. I suppose its no small wonder that at last count I think there are now five in the series, using a new author to pen them. Another famous example is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe, which even the author called a trilogy of five parts . . . What? How can that be? But wait, there’s more. For its 30 thanniversary, part six of three was published. This book was called And Another Thing, written by Eoin Colfer since the original author had died by then. Isaak Asimov wrote The Foundation Trilogy, and then promptly added several more volumes, so he re-named it The Foundation Series.

And it’s not just books. How about the ultimate trilogy of Star Wars? I’ve lost count how many there are now, but I read a recent article which describes it as three separate trilogies. What?

To finish, here is a pop quiz. How many books in The Dune Trilogy? If your answer is three, you’re wrong. Frank Herbert finished at six, but his son picked up the mantle and is still going strong writing about the Dune Universe.

So all in all, I think I’m in very good company, and I am now 30,000 words into writing book 4 of my trilogy, which will be called Glimpse, The Angel Shot.

Book 1: Glimpse, Memoir of a Serial Killer

Book 2: Glimpse, The Beautiful Deaths

Book 3: Glimpse, The Tender Killer

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Originally published at https://mybookcave.com on November 2, 2019.

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