When is a trilogy not a trilogy?

The number of books the 'trilogy'
may end up having!!
I finished typing up the edits to the middle book of the trilogy the other week (still a few changes to be made, but the majority of it is done), so naturally, I started on a re-read of the final book.

The third book of the trilogy is at an earlier stage of completion than the others. It needs some work! But as I was reading it over, I realised that while I was writing it, I'd thought about whether there was a fourth book (making it a quadrilogy?) - see my post 'Trilogy...'. Then, as I continued writing, I wasn't sure if there really was another book to come after the third and so tied off various strands and sub-plots in the third.

Maybe I was getting distracted by all the other projects I have buzzing around my head that are desperate for me to finish the trilogy and so I 'finished' it too early and there really is a fourth book to be written... certainly on re-reading the third book, the bits that are tied off don't feel right. They feel hurried. They need work.

However, maybe there isn't another book in the series. Maybe the trilogy should finish at the end of the third book. Maybe I just don't want to leave these characters yet, but I'm outstaying my welcome.

The only way I can work it out, is to explore what, if anything, would go into a fourth book. If there is enough material, then I need to rewrite some bits of the third book so that they lead into a fourth book better (and don't get tied off). If there isn't enough for a fourth book, I need to rewrite some bits so that those strands are tied off properly in the third book.

Enter a new notebook, a freshly filled fountain pen, and a delay in getting on to the next draft of the third book while I work out what would be in any further book(s). I have a variety of worksheets I use when I'm planning a book, which make me focus on what the key parts of the book are. I'm going through them to see if the trilogy isn't in fact a trilogy, but a quadrilogy (or quintilogy or sexilogy (which sounds like something else entirely)).

I may be some time...