Ending a serial

So I'm finally reaching the end of my serial, and I was just wondering if anyone has any advice about doing it. If you finished a serial, how did you do it? What do you like to see from a web serial ending? Is there anything I should avoid?

I have to say, I will be glad when I'm done. I've been writing entirely on the fly, in some cases while being quite ill and tired. I had no idea having a regular deadline would be so stressful!

As a reader I guess I want the same as for the ending of a novel - a satisfying tie-up of the plot threads along with maybe a few surprises. What I wouldn't like is if it just stops and you don't know if it's the end or the author just got tired of writing, so I'd like it to say The End, thanks for reading! and maybe some indication of where to look for the author's next project.

Looking forward to the exciting conclusion of Golgotha. Thanks for carrying on!

If I have invested in a character or characters, I want them (and me, the reader) to be treated with a resolution in mind. If possible, I'd like there to be some emotional or intellectual payoff. (If it's a mystery or suspense oriented work I'd like all the puzzles to fall believably in place. If it's a character work, I'd like the character's story to have definite shape and conclusion.) If possible it'd be nice to make sure your wrapping up really does pull from things you started with (in the beginning) and other places along your storyline. THis makes the overall read feel complete to me.

What I think is a gamble:

* Everyone dies endings. (It works in dystopian and sci-fi genres. But if you're going to go that way, you can soften the blow by leaving a small inkling of hope. )

* Abruptly ending . People generally do like to leave the story gently and be "returned " to their steady state. Try not to blow up the Death Star and walk away inside the story. Also think it's wise to gently telegraph to your readers that you're approaching the end ...they might tell you what they hope will happen so at least you have a sense what the stakes are for them.

BUT... at least you're putting an ending out there. So kudos there!

SgL, everyone dies endings are my favorite, though. That makes everything so much more depressing. (I like tragedies.

On a realistic note, another thing I wouldn't do: second-arc syndrome. The manga Death Note fell for this when they killed L, and everyone hated the last half. A lot of people liked to leave it in a situation where Light won. Also, in Umbra, I did this, along with the abrupt ending, since I'd realized the monster I had created. (seriously, go to the website; on the contents, Arc 1 had 8 chapters, and arc 2 had 3; this is because it should have ended with my original everyone dies ending, which I originally planned, until I decided I didn't want them to die, thus creating my case of second-arc syndrome)

Drakengard did the 'everyone dies' ending well. It had five endings, four of which involved pretty much everyone dying horribly in an apocalyptic scenario, and the only ending that didn't was likely shoe-horned in by execs so they could get a sequel made. I love that game. It's so utterly messed up.

I'm actually tempted to do it with my serial. I have no idea if anyone reading it is invested in any of the characters, and it would certainly buck the trend to have the ragtag bunch of misfits completely fail to save the world.

I didn't actually hate the second half of Death Note, because I hated Light and was immensely happy to see him lose in the end. Near is also my favourite character.

I didn't hate the second half of Death Note either, for the same reason as you; however, Near only won because of (extermely lucky) random guessing. (Turns around, sees a crazy dude on TV, thinks "That must be Kira's proxy, since he's been on TV twice" and just happens to be right; it's like that time I was playing Clue, and won on my first turn; I just got really, REALLY lucky) but anyway, I'm rambling. A lot of people hated it, because the entire thing with L and Light being friends and enemies at the same time was intriguing, and it was an actual battle; Light vs. Near/Mellow was boring, because there was no confrontation until almost the end, and they were trying to recreate the first part, before Light and L met, and it had already been done.

Also, Misa was my favorite. Everyone else was superhumanly smart, and she comes along and is a complete ditz, which made her the most human out of all of them.

Light only defeated L because Rem was a colossal idiot. I can think of a dozen alternatives she could have chosen to protect Misa without simply doing what Light wanted. He basically won through divine intervention that he only got because of a Shinigami gripping the idiot ball as tightly as possible.

I thought the most unbelievable aspect of Near's victory was Gevanni making an exact copy of the Death Note in an incredibly short space of time, effective enough to fool someone with an OCD personality. Seriously, Near owed his victory to Gevanni's godlike forgery skills.

Both Light's victory over L and Near's victory over Light were ridiculous, but I put up with the latter because I hate Light.

Misa the most human? I'd have put that down to Matsuda. Complete dork who flips out and shoots Light when he learns the truth? Awesome moment. It was so great to see practically the dumbest person involved blow Light away when he finds out the man he admired is actually a monster.

You're right about Rem, but she was actually a he in Japan, and he was in love with Misa, which made the irrationality make sense. Also, you're right about Gevanni and his forgery. And Matsuda being the most human of the entire cast. It's been a while; I forgot about that stuff. I need to reread it.

Near's victory only happened because of L, who only began to suspect Light because of the FBI agents that were killed unnecessarily; if he hadn't done that, L wouldn't have had reason to begin investigating the people who Penber was following, namely, Light.

Also, I changed who I like best: Ryuk.

I love how a question about how to end a serial became about manga.

It wasn't that Rem was irrational, it was that the plot made her intentionally stupid so that Light could win. Honestly, the conversation should have gone like this:

Light: Hey Rem! L is gonna figure out that Misa is the second Kira, and when he does, he's gonna arrest and/or execute her! You have to kill L to protect Misa!

Rem: Uh ... no I don't. I believe I made it clear that if anything happens to Misa, I will kill you. If this L person harms Misa in any way, I will hold you responsible and end your life. Protect Misa yourself or start writing yourself a will.

Near won because of help from a large number of people, including Mello, Gevanni and L. He's modest enough to admit this, and even says that he couldn't have done it without them. That doesn't make his victory any less than what it was. Victory through teamwork and co-operation is an admirable thing. By contrast, Light's victory over L was purely due to writer fiat making Rem dumber than a bag of drunken monkeys.

Heh, well I suppose we are discussing the end of a serial, just the end of a manga/anime serial.

Rem was dumb, I admit it. He/she could have done things differently.

I still think Near discovering who I call "Delete" because of his crazy obsession with the word shouldn't have happened like that. Also, Delete should have trusted Kira; killing Takada was stupid, and if he hadn't, Near would have lost.

Near could have easily won if he wasn't such an intellectual snob. He knew Light was Kira, but he dismisses the notion of simply killing him, despite the fact that Light was doing everything in his power to kill Near. Near and Mello could have assassinated Light the second they knew he was Kira, but neither of them do. They wanted to win 'properly', by playing an outlandish game of cat and mouse.

Really, Matsuda had the right idea. If you know who Kira is, just shoot the bugger. To hell with all that 'you know that I know that you know that I know' nonsense the Wammy kids think is clever. Light wasn't actually a god, and he sure as hell wasn't bullet proof. The fate of the freaking world was at stake, it doesn't matter how you win, only that you do. Near was behaving like a Bond villain - forget talking, forget convoluted traps, just shoot Bond!

Yeah, well, the way I see it, they were all the same: they all had a twisted sense of what was justice. Except Matsuda, who, I agree, had the right idea... Maybe he was actually smarter than them all...

Stories never end, we just stop recording them

I'm still wondering whether or not to kill off the main character. It's already been predicted to happen within the story, and I don't want to pull a Harry Potter and back out at the last minute.

At the very least it wont be an abrupt ending, and I'm going to make an effort to tie up loose ends.

If you feel that the hero should die, then do so. Just make it a satisfying, heroic death. Make him/her die doing something, not just an abrupt "rocks fall, everybody dies" thing.

I'm not exactly sure my main character qualifies as a 'hero'. Most of my main cast are pretty awful people that just happen to be up against someone worse than they are. Even Evil Has Standards sort of thing. Does my main character even deserve a heroic, meaningful death? I have no idea, I haven't had nearly enough feedback to say. Pretty much writing blind, here.

If you want your hero to die, but they don't deserve a good death, the solution is obvious.

Let the bad guy win.

Again, main character =/= hero. A protagonist isn't the same as a hero, just as an antagonist isn't the same as a villain.

Letting the bad guy win, whilst a nice break with tradition, would not make for a very satisfying ending. Advice you guys gave me earlier included giving satisfying closure to characters that readers are invested in. So far I have one person still reading and commenting on my serial, and the only character I think she's invested in is one who is trying to defeat the bad guy (though is not the main character, even if he thinks of himself as such).

In any case, a bad guy wins scenario would pretty much mean the end of the world. If I'm only intending on killing the protagonist off, that seems a little bit overkill. Whilst I'm not adverse to overkill, it would also ruin the spin off novels I'm doing.

The issue is I have no idea if people like or hate my main character, so I don't know how to handle their fate. I don't have an opinion myself one way or the other, so I want to go with whats best for the story.

Alice, if I'm your one invested reader (besides lurkers who don't comment), I say : Be true to your own artistic vision and end the story the way you think it should end. Don't try to please your readers, because you can never please everyone. It's your story.

By the way, I do think of Sam as a hero. He's always tried to do the right thing despite his issues. I think that's the way you're trying to portray him, isn't it? Sebastian is a more ambiguous character but I support his aims.

Yes, I've always tried to write Sam that way, but I certainly didn't think he would come across as any kind of a hero.

Thanks for the response, it's a big help.