I’m going for irony here even though it just took me a few attempts to spell it correctly. I just put out my first e-book (check my store please) and I looked at my list of ‘thought’ topics. I saw that I had ‘writing endings’ on the list and my mind flew into action. Well, it flew to the thought of needing food first and then to writing this. I’m rather exhausted, but this is the only time I have to write this, so please bear (bare?) with me on this one.
I once got into an anime series called Inuyasha and I thoroughly enjoyed it. That is until I realized that it just wouldn’t end. Every ‘season’ had the heroes scrambling for a new power or item that could kill the main villain, but every climactic finale showed that the villain was either immune to it or had a back-up body. After the fifth time, I decided that Inuyasha was a waste of time and I moved on. A few friends stayed with it a little longer and our friendship was never the same.
This is when I learned that a series is not forever. In fact, it shouldn’t be forever because you’ll eventually run out of ideas. You may even lose good ideas for other series because of your refusal to leave the successful series. Yes, there are some mediums that can go for a really long time, but you have to be very talented and have very good characters for that. It’s incredibly rare outside of comics and even then you get a little tired of Spider-Man vs. Doctor Octopus Round 4,821. There’s also Law & Order, which I consider a freak of nature that will be around long after humanity is gone. The characters will be played by mutated, hyper-intelligent cockroaches (and Charlie Sheen because he can’t be killed), but the series will continue.
For novelists, I think we really do have to accept the fact that we need to end a series before people are begging for it to stop. I’ve heard a vocal minority feel that ‘Games of Thrones’ is never going to end, which has them worried that it will lose its luster. If that is the case then it would be a shame because you never want to go out on a ‘thank god it’s over’ note. I’m sure we can all think of something that went for longer than it should have. You want to go out as great and leave them clamoring for more, but in a way that doesn’t include plot holes and an ambiguous ending. The goal should be an ending with closure and a sense that every character’s story has come to a close. If you really want to keep it going then create a few minor characters to take over a differently named series. Spin-offs are allowed if done right.
My point of all this is to have a plan to end at the top and not try to squeeze every drop of attention out of a series. You could leave it a husk that might not survive very long after you leave it to its own devices. Word would spread that the series drags on, which is not a compliment. Personally, I have Legends of Windemere plotted out of 15 books, each with a special plot along with the main plot. 15 might be pushing it, so I admit to taking a risk with this series. Yet, I still have an ending, which I recommend to authors having at least a few possible endings. It can also help focus your plot along the way and avoid any plot paths that go nowhere.
I think I had more on this, but the coffee has worn off, the adrenaline has faded, and I have just enough time for a nap before errands. Feel free to discuss and then buy Beginning of a Hero by using the links in the Legends of Windemere store . . . was that too much? I felt like it was too much.