August 2, 2017

Writing Terrifying Trilogies: a guest post by Weston Kincade, author of "A Life of Death" trilogy

Writing Terrifying Trilogies

Hey there, Gef! Thanks for having me. It’s good to be here.

Hi everyone!

Weston Kincade here, your happy-go-lucky author and teacher with a few too many voices knocking around his head. Believe it or not, these voices are growing in number. I’m not insane or demented… okay, maybe a little demented, but as an author, our characters really do come to life, both the good guys and the bad. When they get written down they are confined to the books and your imaginations, but for us they rattle around in our heads, testing for ways to get out and mopping up the remains of their latest skull-ringing endeavors. That’s why the motto of my blog is “Wordsmith at your service... delving into my subconscious so you don't have to. Trust me, it's better this way.” It can be dangerous up there.

Consider Stephen King, who said, “People think that I must be a very strange person. This is not correct. I have the heart of a small boy. It is in a glass jar on my desk.” He’s written so many terrifying short stories and novels that his head probably resembles a demented clown car with “It” in the driver’s seat. And I don’t want to think how many glass jars are on his desk by now.

So what’s the point of this tangent?

Gef mentioned that you might be interested in the process of writing a trilogy since I just finished writing one, my A Life of Death trilogy. Believe it or not, this plays a huge role.

The longer we write books, spilling characters from our heads and souls onto the page, the longer they have to run amok at the forefront of our minds, in our dreams and nightmares. I can certainly understand why King tends to write stand-alone novels.

Keeping Voldemort at bay…

It’s difficult to write continuously in a series with all those characters battling behind your eyes, some dying repeatedly, their mourning songs wailing in your ears as you go to sleep at night. (Yes, this happens, especially when a primary character dies in a book you are writing.) A reader can get through a book in days, even hours. It takes authors months, if not years, to write one book, let alone multiple. Imagine spending all that time with antagonists at the gates of your mind, battling to get in… Voldemort, Darth Vader, It, Mordred. For the authors who create them, these characters are real.

Thankfully, you have Harry Potter, King Arthur, Luke Skywalker, and in my case Alex Drummond standing at the gates wielding wands, swords, and guns to fight them off day after day. The longer you write a series, the longer these characters are in the forefront of your mind.
Beyond this though, there are other hurdles to overcome: where to take your next novel in the series, how to keep things straight and consistent, and one of the most important things, how to top your last book in the series.

Where to take your next novel...

The next book will likely come from random inspiration. You may already have the idea, or it could be waiting around the corner. Something as small as a decrepit, zombie-looking butterfly flying in your path as you hike down a trail could inspire a storyline where one psychotic scientist does the unthinkable in your next book. You never necessarily know where the inspiration will come from or when it will strike, but I always make a note of it.

I’m an avid fan of Evernote, a free app that allows you to dictate into your phone and it will convert it to text and save the note in the cloud for later use. I have a host of miscellaneous ideas I’ve come up with over the years. Some will turn into stories. Some won’t.

How to keep things consistent…

This is harder and something that takes time and effort to keep straight. You’ve likely encountered inconsistencies in some series at times. One character’s eyes may have been blue at one point, then are reported as brown the next. Small details are important, and readers will catch them if you aren’t careful.

To keep things consistent, I recommend keeping a character glossary document with all the little details about every character you come up with, no matter how inconsequential. You never know when the character will come back into the story and play a larger role. The last thing you want to have to do as an author is go searching through previous books to try and find one particular scene where you may or may not have mentioned a character’s eye color, build, accent, or scars. Having a glossary to look back on will help keep everything straight and save time in the long run.

Topping your last book…

This is probably the most difficult and the most important things you want to strive for. Unfortunately, you won’t know if you’ve succeeded until the book is finished and being read and reviewed. To make it worse, at least in my case, the book you are currently working on always seems like the worst story you’ve ever written. I am my own worst critic. However, I think this helps. It means I’m always striving to make my current book the best it can be. If you keep that as your goal and maintain the determination to continue writing, you will get there.

Keeping these things in mind will help in your next venture if you are considering writing a trilogy. And for those of you who aren’t but are avid fans of trilogies and series, it may give you a different perspective on the delays that can cause release dates to be pushed back. There is a lot more that goes into writing a series behind the scenes.

Thanks for having me, Gef!

If anyone has questions, I’ll be happy to answer them. Feel free to join me in the writing adventure I call life via email and get a FREE copy of my short story anthology about fate and fantasy, Strange Circumstances.

Author Bio:
Weston Kincade writes fantasy, paranormal, and horror novels that stretch the boundaries of imagination, and often genres. His current series include the A Life of Death trilogy and the Priors. Weston's short stories have been published in Alucard Press' "50 Shades of Slay," Kevin J. Kennedy's bestselling "Christmas Horror" and "Easter Horror," and other anthologies. He is a member of the Horror Writer's Association (HWA) and helps invest in future writers while teaching English. In his spare time Weston enjoys spending time with his wife and Maine Coon cat, Hermes, who talks so much he must speak for the Gods.

Investigate Weston Kincade’s newly released trilogy, A Life of Death. To find out more about him personally, follow Weston on social media:
Twitter: @WestonKincade

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