||[Mar. 25th, 2006|05:01 pm]
What is it about trilogies?|
Why does it feel awkward and unsatisfactory to have two books in a series, but supremely right to have three?
I've written two Purchas novels now, but I'm not going to be satisfied until I've finished the third.
2006-03-25 09:29 am (UTC)
I'm enjoying the second novel even more than the first. If you continue this trend, #3 is a must!
I read a two-book "series" recently. I remember feeling that if it wasn't going to go on for three volumes, it should have been done as a single.
Thank you. I think #2 is darker than #1.
I'll let you into a secret: I've already written 2,000 words of #3.
Humans like threes. Three wishes, three chances, and the trinity. Three acts, more importantly.
I wonder what that means for my series, which is a tetralogy being released in two volumes? I'm just all wrong. But I was going for the four & eight asian numbers rather than the three & seven western ones, and the publisher just had other ideas...
Tetralogies are fine. Unusual but fine. I'm very fond of The Saga of the Exiles which- unless my memory is totally addled- is a tetralogy.
I guess Victorian novels often got issued in two volumes. But that's a little different. Dividing a single whole into two parts feels fine.
Like Kill Bill, I suppose. Call it Volume One and Volume Two feels all right--it's Book I and Book II that feels like it needs a third. Or Part I and Part II.
That's it. That's it exactly.
But I don't know why....
It's a folkloric thing. There's innumberable essays. The best genuine explanation--not just observation--I've read is strangely enough in Foucault's Pendulum.
Someone (I rather think it was manfalling
) borrowed my copy of Foucault's Pendulum and I haven't seen it for years.
Amazon, here I come....
You're locked in a trinitarian paradigm. Probably has to do with residual Christian/Celtic influence. :P
It probably does. For whatever reason, and I'm sure it goes way, way back, the idea that the number three is auspicious is deeply embedded in the western psyche.
thesis-antithesis-synthesis is a satisfying movement.
2006-03-26 01:26 am (UTC)
Re: hegel's dialectic?
I think you're on to something there!
In addition to the points above, threes are known in rhetoric to have more impact than twos or single points. If you watch any politician in an important speech, there'll be lots of lists of three, especially if they're trying to persuade you. From the budget:
And with Britain not only more stable but better off than seven years ago, it is time for us, facing new global economic challenges, to combine a new confidence about Britain’s economic potential with a new resolve to make the right long term choices and reforms to achieve excellence in education, science and enterprise.
Challenges which no industrial nation can ignore;
where other nations are moving forward;
and in which I want Britain to lead.
Our advantages, as an island nation, are a global reach wider than almost every other industrial country, a historical record of scientific achievement longer than any other country, and a foundation of political and now economic stability that goes deeper than any other country.
And when people are talking more normally, if they only have two items for a list they often add things like "..and stuff" or "and so on" to pad it up to three - looks like we just really like threes!
Now I think about it, I do this myself: Grouping adjectives in groups of three etc.
I was thinking it was just a personal quirk.