Do You Have Angst?: The best series have an ending

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The best series have an ending

As I’ve been working on Angst 2, I’ve been thinking about endings.  I have always thought that the best stories have an arc – one that was conceptualized before the first word was written.  While it doesn’t always work that way for every story, the ones I’ve enjoyed most carry the reader, or viewer, along a known path, giving out little tidbits that in the end wrap up nicely into a satisfying package.

I don’t think it was really a surprise to anyone how the Harry Potter series was going to end.  The genius wasn’t the finish, it was getting there.  We all know the bad guy is going to die, and the good guy is going to win.  Anything else would be a tough read, or hard to watch, and unfulfilling.  The genius of Harry Potter isn’t only the amazing world that JK Rowling built, the depth of character, the descriptive prose, or the imagination she shared with us.  There was also genius when it was announced that the series would be seven books long.

I’ve been a Star Trek fan all my life, but I think it’s always been a weak point that the original 5 year mission never ended.  We’ve gotten some great stories out of Trek, but rarely have we gotten closure.  I would have to say that The Next Generation episode “All Good Things...” would be the closest Trek has provided to closure of an episodical series.  (Without really closing it.)

Having no ending in mind can go bad.  I loved the first season of Heroes.  The second season Generations was fun, but hurt badly by the writers’ strike.  In the end, the series drug out with no end in sight, until I couldn’t stand watching it anymore.  I don’t think I was alone.  Comic books, which Heroes basically was, are notorious for this.  There are some amazing story arcs by great writers and artists, but eventually good titles peter out to become disappointing because in spite of the amazing build up there is no closure.

Angst was a dream that I spent years pondering and not writing.  I’m glad I finally did.  In spite of a few small cliffhangers, Angst can stand on its own.  There doesn’t have to be a sequel.  But, I love the characters.  I love what the world could grow into.  Angst 1 I really wrote out of necessity, Angst 2 (I know the title by the way.  Neener.)  I’m writing for fun.

It would be easy to make Angst 2 another episode, wait for everyone to tell me they love or hate it, and then maybe write another Angst episode.  I think that’s a mistake.  It’s both irresponsible entertainment, and could even be construed as bad writing.  I can’t write a never-ending string of Angst books.  I’d get burned out, everyone reading them would get sick of them, and I have other ideas that I want to explore.

I’ve given this a lot of thought.  Angst 2 isn’t going to be the end, but I promise I do have an end in mind.  If you like the world I’m creating, then I believe you’ll like what I’m planning.  There is going to be an end, I know what it is, and it’s going to be amazing.


  1. I agree. In fact, I quit reading series altogether for a while, and now only start them when it's clear that there will be an end. (With the exception of The Dresden Files, which is just too fun, and detective series where the plot resolves at the end of each novel.)

  2. Angst did have a really good, completely stand alone end, but there are definitely plot lines that are hinted at that could really be continued indefinitely. I agree with Marie, I usually only start a series that has a distinct end, but in Angst's case, I'll follow until there aren't any books left