THE STATE TRILOGY A-Z GUIDE: W

My A-Z theme this year is a guide to my trilogy of novels called ‘The State Trilogy’. Set in an unnamed island country known only as ‘The State’, in the imagined near future, the books follow the intertwining stories of a number of characters, principally a State police detective named Danny Samson and an assassin, Gabriella Marino, over a period of six years. It begins with the assassination of an elected official and spirals into revolution and civil war. Part political thriller, action story, war story and dystopian science fiction, the trilogy took three years to complete and the books are available to read now – you can find links to purchase them HERE

In The State Trilogy, ‘W’ stands for:

Weather: Each book in the trilogy was set in a different season. ‘A Justified State’ was set in winter, and is cold, ending with the first snowfall. ‘State Of Denial’ is set in the summer months, and in a long, hot, dry summer. ‘State Of War’ is set at the end of autumn, as the temperature cools, winter is returning and the whole thing is soaked in rain. These were deliberate choices to mark the mood of each novel and mirror the moods of the characters. The progression is also deliberate (although each book is set 3 years after the previous one), reflecting the life cycle that the characters and the State are going through. Like movies and other books, I like to reflect events in the story against the weather, making nature a character in itself.

War: Each book in the trilogy has a different genre and tone, and I always wanted to end with a ‘war’ novel, which became ‘State Of War’. The title refers to the civil war that is tearing through Central City and forms the backdrop to that novel. Of course, through the trilogy there is the First Strike War, the global conflict that has been running for half a century. It is a common theme for utopian novels to feature a global war, and my trilogy was no different – a definite nod to ‘1984’, which similarly has a war in the background of the narrative.

Wilderness: The State, in battling pollution and climate change and the destruction of the natural world, makes the decision to move all inhabitants into mega cities – Capital City, MidLands, Central City and Highlands. Outside the walls of these huge urban places, the land is left to return to a state of nature and becomes known as the wilderness. Some holdouts still live in these wild lands, but nature is allowed to run free. Old roads and buildings are left abandoned and gradually nature is reclaiming the land back. The land, out with the watchful surveillance of the State, of course becomes a natural place for rebels and dissenters to survive.

Writing: The process of writing the books followed a similar path each time, and is one in which I have settled into my preferred method of working. I’m not a planner. I have a good idea of the plot and characters in my head, enough to start writing a first draft. Usually the idea comes from a scene or an image and grows from there. The story can change as I write, but the basic idea will still be there. Then I write a second draft where I go back and correct inconsistencies and make sure it all makes sense. Then it’s on to editing. With the trilogy, I wrote the first book as a standalone novel, and only after completing it did I think about sequels. The story for the latter two books came into my mind at the same time, and followed on from each other.

Next up – X is for: Xavier and Xenophobia

All the entries in the A-Z of ‘The State Trilogy’ can be found HERE

The books are available from a wide selection of online retailers, including AMAZON

35 thoughts on “THE STATE TRILOGY A-Z GUIDE: W

  1. I always wondered how long it would take for nature to reclaim its territory if human activity allowed. The covid situation gives some idea of how quickly that occurs, with animals roaming more freely. It surprised me to read that each of your trilogy novels is a different genre. Weather extremes make for interesting characters.

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    1. Thanks Gail. The aim was to write a different genre, but still keep it a cohesive trilogy of books, so the theme of each – thriller/politics/war – changes, but they should feel they all belong together. I think it worked, but of course, that’s for the reader to decide! And yes, the pandemic has shown us that nature would be quite happy and quite quick to reclaim the land if we were to just give it a chance!

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  2. These are some interesting “W”‘s once again Iain! I hadn’t thought about the weather part yet. I’m cheered to know you are not a planner. I think I tend to favor more organically grown books, although I know it is to each their own there. Have a great Wednesday. I’m guessing it might be Wednesday across the pond by the time you see this!

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    1. Thanks Anne – each to their own, but I just don’t have the patience, or the mindset, to spend too long planning before I want to get on with the writing – which is the fun part after all! Have a great day!

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  3. My moods can be affected by weather and seasons, so I like the idea of those elements reflecting what’s going on in the story.

    It’s amazing to me how quickly abandoned (or neglected) structures turn to decay and get overrun by nature. Your description of the wilderness brings vivid images to mind.

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    1. Thanks Trudy – it’s reassuring to have seen how quickly nature can rebound if we just give it a chance over the last year. I hope we learn a lesson from that. Glad you like the idea of the weather influencing the mood of the story 🙂

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  4. I never thought much about the weather setting in novels, but do see how it can help with the entire mood. And without really just coming out and telling the reader, I’ve seen that sort of thing. Thank you for pointing this out.

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    1. Thank you Lisa, I think the best writers, of course, manage to infuse their stories with weather and atmosphere without the reader even realising it 🙂

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    1. Oh yes, there were a few big moments like that when I wrote something and then realised I would have to go back and rewrite a lot of what came before to make it work! But I think it’s the best way to go. allowing yourself to go where it feels right, rather than sticking to a rigid structure 🙂

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  5. Oh, I like that idea of linking the mood of the story to the weather. It’s must be very moddy and atmospheric.
    I also like the idea of the Wilderness very much. Nature taking things back in her hands. Sounds good to me 😉

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter – The Great War

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  6. I have been very busy with the day job for the last week but couldn’t resist squeezing in starting A Justified State. It is very dark (which I enjoy) and it reminded me somewhat of a local Bradford author A A Dhand who writes gritty crime novels set in contemporary Bradford. Yours however is set in a very fleshed out future and I look forward to the unfolding of the political landscape.

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  7. Interesting point about the weather. Although we placed our book at a specific time of year, we didn’t make as much of it as perhaps we could. For example, we realised when doing a weather related #1linewed prompt that we’d included almost nothing in the way of reference to the weather at all.

    A-Zing from Fiction Can Be Fun
    Normally found at Debs Despatches

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