I'm kicking off Nikki Owen's The Killing Files Blog Tour today. I'm delighted to welcome Nikki to my blog to talk about Writing a Trilogy. Her latest novel The Killing Files (the second part of The Project Trilogy) is published by Mira today (2 June 2016).
The thing with writing a trilogy is it just never leaves your head. It’s different to a standalone book. Standalone books you can, like a lover you’ve grown tired of, leave, walk away from, shut the door and never come back. But a trilogy? It’s like a lover you’ve had a child with and so, no matter what you do, there’s always a connection, always a tug and a tie (but, thankfully, in a good way.)
I never set out, initially, to write a trilogy. I’d read many of them, mainly YA: The Hunger Games, The Divergent series, and (don’t judge me), um, The Twilight series (oh, who am I kidding: I LOVED Twilight. FYI: I’m Team Edward.) Anyway, it wasn’t until I got writing what is now the Project trilogy that the concept of actually writing one myself began to become a real possibility. I’d read Stieg Larsson’s epic Millennium trilogy and admired not only his amazing and original kick-ass heroine, Lisbeth Salander (which my protagonist, Dr Maria Martinez has been likened too), but truly was agog at his skill to plot, to create believable, 3-D characters and to go to a level of researched, intricate detail in the narrative that just blew my mind. I read it and I thought to myself, ‘Nope. I can’t do that.’ But, thing is, if myself or someone else tells me I can’t do something, or says, with grave reality, that I have no chance, then I am on it. I mean, seriously, I am a woman with a mission focused on proving everyone wrong.
And so that’s how I found myself knee deep in a trilogy of my own, giving it a shot. Don’t get me wrong though – it’s been tough. The plotting alone messed with my head sometimes – the multiple story lines, the complex characters, the way I had to, through it all, ensure that all the tiny details I described of Maria’s Asperger’s were accurate and true. I felt – quite rightly – a deep responsibility to the female Aspie community to get it spot on, to do them justice and represent them fairly, as real people, with real thoughts and emotions.
The way I’ve planned the trilogy over the last two/three years of writing has evolved. The first book was written with major pen and notebook assistance (much like Maria’s notebook, funnily enough – she likes notebooks A LOT). The second novel planning in the series I did in a more methodical manner: a full on spreadsheet motherboard tracing every single plot line and character development for each scene. It worked to a point, but when I forgot to look at it, my writing would go off piste – although this actually turned out to be a good thing and created new ideas I hadn’t planned for. I’m finishing book three of the trilogy now (no title as yet) and I think, finally, I have found my groove when it comes to planning. See, while I like to plan (I used to be an advertising agency brand planner) I’m also a creative, and by creative, I mean I daydream, and daydreaming often brings out ideas no amount of planning can predict. So I now find the best way that works for me is to plan a chapter, then write it, then plan the next one, then write it and so on. Especially with a huge, epic story arc of a trilogy, this method seems to fit my brain best on balancing my planning gene with my wandering creative one.
So there you go, writing a trilogy is a labour of love. And laughs. And (lots of) tears. A love that, despite its ups and downs, endures and stays in your head and, try as you might, never leaves. And that’s just the way I like it.
About Nikki Owen
Nikki Owen is an award-winning freelance writer and columnist currently based in Gloucestershire.
Previously, Nikki was a marketing consultant and University teaching fellow before turning to writing full time. As part of her degree, she studied at the acclaimed University of Salamanca – the same city where her protagonist of the Project trilogy, Dr Maria Martinez, hails from.
The Killing Files
By Nikki Owen
Published by Mira (2 June 2016)
What to believe
Who to betray
When to run…
Plastic surgeon Dr Maria Martinez has Asperger’s. Convicted of killing a priest, she is alone, in prison and has no memory of the murder.
DNA evidence places Maria at the scene of the crime, yet she claims she’s innocent. Then she starts to remember…
A strange room. Strange people. Being watched.
As Maria gets closer to the truth she is drawn into a web of international intrigue and must fight not only to clear her name but to remain alive.
My review is coming VERY SOON.
Find the book on Amazon UK by clicking here.
For my review of the first book in the series - Subject 375 (originally called The Spider in the Corner of the Room), click here. To discover why the book changed its name, click here.
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