#RRBC “SPOTLIGHT”AUTHOR, GORDON BICKERSTAFF Is Here!

Today, I am happy to host RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB’S “SPOTLIGHT”Author, Gordon Bickerstaff!  I’m happy to do so because Gordon is one of the most supportive members within the club and when you give support the way he does, you can sit here on my sofa and speak to my blog followers any day of the week…twice on Sunday, if you so choose!  And now, I turn it all over to Gordon!

GFB author bio pic

WRITING A TRILOGY – PLANNING

When I was young, I read Ian Fleming and more recently, I’ve read a lot of Lee Child. I knew I wanted to write a series when I started writing fiction, but I didn’t initially plan the first three books to be a trilogy. To me, the prospect of planning for three, seemed too overwhelming.

I’ve read that JK Rowling planned her Harry Potter series for five years before she started to write – so planning is key. The first draft of my first book ran to 130,000 words and I hadn’t finished the story. I realised it would be too long, so I accepted that it would spill into a sequel. Then, as every writer knows, the characters and the story grew organically, and by the time I’d finished the first book, DEADLY SECRETS, I knew it would become a trilogy.

A big planning decision at the start is whether each book will be self-contained or must be read in sequence to make sense. It is equally possible to have three books in one, or one book in three volumes. The approach for each one is different and it is important to decide early on which it will be. I decided that the Gavin Shawlens thriller series would be standalone books, but that anyone reading the trilogy, would gain the added enjoyment of discovering the trilogy story arcs that bind them together.

Every writer has his or her own style, but for me, I have to have the beginning and the end solidly sketched out so I know where I’m coming from and where I am going. So, the ending in the third book, THE BLACK FOX, was known to me when I was writing the first book. I think that it is essential to have that basic structure, so that you can plan for the end of the third book to bring closure to the trilogy. I think it would be difficult for me to write a good ending to the third book that had not been planned in the first two.

Good planning will establish and distinguish book story arcs and trilogy story arcs. The former will be complete in one book and the latter will complete in the third book. Working these out allows you to interweave them so the trilogy arcs become natural background in the book story arcs. I enjoyed the challenge of finding opportunities to fit a trilogy story arc into a book story arc.

For example, I wanted a trilogy romantic arc for Gavin Shawlens that had history (starting when he was sixteen), but not a simple one. One that has been painful and had a dramatic impact on his life.

SPOILER ALERT!
In Bk1 he is reunited with the love of his life, and life is good – then it is under threat. In Bk2, this love is completely lost, which leaves him devastated and suicidal. This trilogy arc is embedded in the Bk2 story arcs and the reader thinks the romantic arc is completed. Then in Bk3, a dramatic twist brings the real conclusion of the trilogy romantic arc.

The Black Fox  by Gordon Bickerstaff

 Buy Gordon Bickerstaff’s Books
Amazon-UK
Amazon-USA

Follow Gordon Bickerstaff here:

Website
Twitter handle: @ADPase

Thanks for stopping by, Gordon and if you would like to follow along with the rest of Gordon’s blog tour (we hope you will), you may do so by clicking here!

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33 Comments

  1. Grate post gordegrate advice
    Will add your books to my to read list
    Love 007 and Alice cross to
    N thanks for spotlighting

    Like

  2. Thanks Beem. There is a lot of enjoyment and fun in planning. I’ve been asked what I do about writers block. I don’t have that problem because I don’t start writing until my plan is in place.

    Like

  3. I am glad to read about other authors who outline, plan, and plot the stories they intend to tell. Seat-of-the-pants is fine for those who are able to accomplish the expected results. But some stories made up along the way are obvious. Those who put in the effort to do the research and the planning are writers I tend to admire most of all. Thanks for keeping these tours stops interesting, Gordon.

    Thanks for supporting and hosting, Nonnie.

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  4. Thanks John. Planning and research are parts of writing that I enjoy.

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  5. Sorry I got to this late, Gordon, but I can readily identify with the planning process you outline above as I have been working on a series that may well end up being 8 books. Planning is certainly Job#1! Thanks for hosting, Nonnie!

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  6. beckyreilly2013

    Reblogged this on Rebecca Reilly – Author and commented:
    Enjoy Rave Reviews Book Club Spotlight Author, Gordon Bickerstaff!

    Like

  7. I’m glad to see Gordon spotlighted. In addition to your wonderful writing, Gordon, you still devote time to encouraging the members of RRBC on Twitter and in other mediums. Also, thanks for sharing some great tips on writing a series!

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    • Thanks Linda, such an honour to think my writing gives you inspiration. Look forward to seeing your series in due course – you know you can do it!

      Like

  8. Reblogged this on Linda Mims and commented:
    Gordon Bickerstaff has been an inspiration for my writing since I first began to follow him on Twitter. Thanks for “Spotlighting him, Nonnie!”

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  9. ‘Mapping’ your storyline, at least from A to Z, has to be a must-do for writers so I agree 100% with you Gordon. 🙂 Everything else can be organic and character-led, even if you have a loose plan on how the plot flows – life is uncertain and so it pays to be flexible.
    Looking forward to your next stop – thanks for having us over Nonnie 😀

    Like

    • Thanks Jan. I admire authors who can start with a blank sheet, and see where it goes. I can’t do it. Agree that it needs to be flexible. Characters do move in different directions, and I have had to re-structure when a good development is too good to leave out. It is all part of the fun of writing, and why I love it so much.

      Like

  10. Reblogged this on Novels by Jennifer Hinsman.

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  11. Congrats on the spotlight Gordon! Great to see you there. Your books sound really good and I’m adding them to my TBR list asap.

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    • Thank you Jenny. The second in the series ‘Everything To Lose’ will be available free on Amazon this week -27-29 Jan. Any feedback will be very welcome.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks to all of you for stopping by to support, Gordon! He’s a great guy!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Gordon, I am working on my first trilogy, and I am excited to learn from you! Thank you for sharing your insights. Your books sound amazing! I’ll be picking up the first one today!

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    • Thanks Rebecca. I envy you. Starting out gives great scope for how you will unfold the story over three parts, which secrets you will hold back, which developments you will reveal and at what stage. It all makes the writing more fun. When starting out, it is a big decision whether the books will be standalone or must be read in sequence. From people who have given me feedback, it seems both are acceptable to readers, so the choice is yours to be made on how you want to unfold the trilogy. Very best of luck with your trilogy.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I’ve found that sometimes you plan to write one book and others emerge as you develop your characters and their individual stories. From one book, my writing partner and I now have two more to complete the trilogy, plus 3 possible prequels, and several other sequels. It’s a wonderful feeling when you feel you are telling the world their stories. 🙂

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    • It certainly is wonderful and a lot of fun!

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  15. Congrats on the SPOTLIGHT, Gordon! Sharing…

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    • Thanks Bette. It is a great honour from a great club.

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      • Why thank you, Gordon! I’m going to have to agree with you here! RRBC is simply fantastic!

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  16. Shirley Harris-Slaughter

    I didn’t care for fantasy books until I got into RRBC so Gordon I will have to take a second look at your books. I have The Black Fox in my amazon wish list. As I buy them, I remove them from the list. Good luck on your tour.

    Like

    • Thanks Shirley. So excited to be in the Spotlight!

      Like

  17. Congrats Gordon! You’re such a supportive member of the club, you deserve your time in the spotlight. I enjoy a good thriller, but I enjoy romance even more. Now I know your books have a romantic story arc, I’m sold 🙂

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    • Thanks Michelle – yes the principal character Gavin Shawlens’ love life has certainly been on a rollercoaster. I don’t want him to go through life without someone, so I am thinking about his next relationship.

      Like

  18. Nonnie- thanks for hosting me on your blog. I am honoured and greatly appreciate the spotlight.

    Like

  19. Hi Gordon, I will never forget how your “Deadly Secrets” affected me, so much so that in writing my review, I saw myself talking directly to the characters. Funny isn’t it? I love mysteries, good and well written mysteries. You did a good job on that book. I look forward to reading more of your books. Thank you Nonnie for profiling him.

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    • Joy, thanks for your kind words. I have the same feeling with James Paterson’s books. Every time I read one of his Alex Cross books, I hear Morgan Freeman talking because I also enjoyed the movies. Talking with Morgan Freeman adds enjoyment to my reading of the Alex Cross books.

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  20. Gordon, I remember seeing Ian Fleming paperbacks on my parents’ bookshelves in the 70’s but I’d never read them. After reading and loving Deadly Secrets, I may have to check them out also. I have all their books now. My mom was also an avid reader of mystery.

    Enjoy your time as “Spotlight Author”!

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    • Thanks Kim. I remember these books fondly. At school I tried to twist an exam question so I could write about James Bond. The teacher wasn’t amused.

      Liked by 1 person

      • When my boss asks me to write something, I always ask him if I can make it up. But since I have to deal with policy, unfortunately I have to rely on the regs and write the facts as interpreted. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  21. Reblogged this on Kim's Author Support Blog and commented:
    Yay! and Congratulations, Gordon! Gordon is one of the most supportive members at RRBC and deserves this honor. If you haven’t, you should check out his books. I have read Deadly Secrets and have purchased the other two in the trilogy. They are in my TBRList.

    Like

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