By Rebecca Cantrell
A series should always be a trilogy. Who has ever heard of a du-ology? And bi-ology is something quite different. What about a quadrology? Pentology? Nope. Clearly if there is no word for it, it just can’t be.
And trilogy is a versatile term. “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” is a four book trilogy. So is “Lord of the Rings,” if you count “The Hobbit.” Those are some successful quadrologies. The “Harry Potter” books are a septology, which doesn’t quite sound as naughty as a sextology, but after all those books are for kids.
Titles matter too. If you start with “A is for Alibi” you know you only have 24 more titles until you reach “Z is for Zero.” (What’s the word for a 26 part series? Kelli, you’re the Latin buff. Lend us a hand.) But if you start with “One for the Money,” you can keep writing until “Google Me Grandma Mazur.”
In all seriousness, a series should run exactly as long as the writer can tell rewarding stories in that world. Or until the publishers and readers stop buying them. As a writer, I hope for the first. Especially as I’m on the third book in my trilogy.
I’ll close by paraphrasing a junior high English teacher who, when I asked how long an essay should be, said “As long as a piece of rope.”
Drove me crazy then too.