So BIG news, well, it is if you’re interested in where the heck the second part of Aphora has been! Aphora is now a duology - not a trilogy as I originally said it would be. I have also changed the working title of ‘Aphora: A New World’ (yuck!) to ‘Aphora: The Last Guardian’.
When I first started out, I had all intentions of Aphora being a trilogy, it just sounded cool - right? But I recently realised that the storyline was actually complete with the second book and I was getting disheartened and disinterested with writing. Sure, I moved house, moved schools, got married and had a baby in the years between 2016 and 2020 but they, whilst valid, have still been excuses and (as you can see from my post on New Year resolutions) I am more motivated now than ever.
Ok, so I didn’t want to be writing another post similar to the one on resolutions but I thought it important to let you know that a month after the last post was written - I’m still on it. If I think about it, it’s been nearly two months and I haven’t lost motivation! I started at the beginning of December with this new found motivation and now it’s the end of January. Kinda impressed with myself there. In that time I have finished the second part to Aphora, put it through some editing and been in collaboration with artists to get the cover done and something else equally exciting but it will remain secret until a later date (what’s that saying? Sorry, not sorry!). If I can do that in two months, what can I achieve in three months, six months, a year?
Back on track with my original message here. I tried very hard expanding Aphora into the trilogy I said it would be. I have a very good friend who reads very similar books to myself; in fact, we often find ourselves recommending books to the other that we have already downloaded onto our kindle devices! So she helped me carve out a potential storyline as I was a bit stuck in the mud/at a brick wall/‘insert relevant metaphor here’. I then went back through the manuscript and altered parts to allow for this third book to happen. Then, just before December, I randomly turned around and said, “I’m finishing with book two.” And do you know what? It was so liberating! Trying to get this into three books was clearly holding me back; I said that and then bam! I was writing, and happily so, once more. I had to adapt yet again to close up the plot twists I had added to allow it to expand (unnaturally may I add) but all in all I am so much happier and feel like this is the story that needed to be told. In two parts. A duology.
After deciding that Aphora, at least Alex and Cate’s story, was complete with the second book, I conducted a little research into YA duologies and oh my word, there are loads. I didn’t even realise - I’ve even read some! This made me appreciate that it is not the number of books that is important but the story. How many times have I read books in a series of five or six or even more and gone: it should have stopped earlier?! So yeah, duologies are a thing and people shouldn’t be afraid of stopping at two books just because the norm is ‘trilogies’. Seriously, write to the story, nothing else.
I can hear some of you wondering why I said Aphora would be a trilogy when it has ended up a duology. Is it because I got bored? Ran out of ideas? Wanted to move on to the next project? Well, the last point is actually partly true, I AM excited to start the next project but the answer is no. I have so many ideas - too many - so it is not because I lack ideas. Did you pick up on something earlier when I said ‘at least Alex and Cate’s story’…I may be able to revisit that world at a later date with some other characters I fell in love with. Oh, you want to know how the world can be revisited if the story is finished? Read the book when it comes out. You’ll see.
Again, I go off track! The reason it changed is quite simply planning. Ironic considering I’m a teacher and whenever we do creative writing, any writing really, we plan. I started Aphora for GCSE English coursework. No ideas of the overall story apart from the prologue (which is what I entered as coursework, back in the days when coursework in English was still a thing. Is it still a thing?). The prologue came to me in like (OK, no judgement but honestly, this is how most my ides start) a vision - if it makes you feel better we’ll use the word ‘dreams’. See? That’s better isn’t it? So I dreamt of the prologue in part one of Aphora. From the encouragement of my pretty darn cool English teacher, I continued writing. Again, no planning, just writing from the heart (aka: dreams I had about it, definitely not going to say from the voices inside my head telling me to write. Step too far? Same affect though). I then went to uni and again, wrote randomly. By then, I was about half way, maybe two thirds, done and finally thought: I need a plan! I did the best I could and Aphora was finished. I only had a rough idea of the second part when I started writing that too.
To round this up, whilst I am proud of Aphora and Aphora: The Last Guardian, it has certainly been a learning curve. In response to what I have learnt, I have been busy planning the next project! It’s about shifters and witches and a war between races and I’m saying no more! It is also - she says - a trilogy.
Want to check out some duologies? Cool, here you go:
Heart of Iron & Soul of Stars by Ashley Poston
A Conspiracy of Stars & An Anatomy of Beasts by Olivia Cole
Contagion & Immunity by Erin Bowman
Sea Witch & Sea Witch Rising by Sarah Henning
Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Empress of a thousand skies & Blood of a thousand stars by Rhoda Belleza
Anna dressed in blood & Girl of nightmares by Kendare Blake
Also, check out these two links which have loads of suggested YA duologies you can read with a quick summary of what the books are about (I’m not affiliated with either by the way, it’s where I’ve gone to check out some new books)! Goodreads is also a good place to check out.
*I cannot claim any credit for the images depicted here; they are for illustrative purposes only and may belong to other people.