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  • Writer's pictureLis Anna-Langston

When Does it End?

Updated: Aug 20, 2021

Yeah. I went there. A question that applies to the world at large. But, you can breathe a sigh of relief because I'm not talking about world events or pandemics. I'm talking about serials. I've been thinking a lot about serials (stories told in episodic format) since launching Vella. This is an old format reimagined obviously. I love the format. I love cliffhangers and dangling story lines, the little bits left unsaid that keep me coming back. Radio programs were long gone before I came along but they hold a mystique.

Continuation is a big theme with me. As is closure. I'm a person of extremes. Wrap it up tight or let it go on forever.

Does this go on forever? It's a question people have been asking about world events in general. More precisely, when does this end? Two questions that so accurately feed into developing a serial. Creating Serial Content was the focus of my summer workshop. I love Ascension/Descension plots. Characters that come from nothing but rise to a place of prominence they carve for themselves. Characters who have everything but hit bottom. I like these because they uniquely hinge on character arcs. Arcs are mysterious, slippery things to writers and non-writers alike.

Nothing is static.

Inside you everything is moving. Vibrating at cosmic speeds. You only perceive yourself as sitting still. In reality everything inside you is moving, the planet is moving, the solar system is moving, the galaxy is moving. Everything is moving.

It's the same with story. All of these moving pieces. Story is a living, organic component of life.

Serials have a trajectory. A forward motion that may loop back to the past. People love serials. From murder mystery solving characters who show up every episode to figure out who committed the crime, to high school dramas where each week new emotional conflict is explored. Serials are often framed as conflicts that never end. If that sounds existential it was intentional. They do end. They end by characters growing far beyond solutions. They end with growth and story lines wrapped up. A place where characters shed old ways for new. It is how all conflict ends. It ends because the character or situation changes so much that the old story can no longer continue.

Serial stories are told in episodes instead of all at once. It's different from a book because you can read an installment in minutes. Unlike a four hundred page novel you can enjoy it in bite sized pieces. It's perfect for people who love the excitement of waiting for the next episode. For the people who love short fiction. For the readers who love devouring long novels and take in a quick story in-between. In short, perfect for every reader.

This is an incredible fun way to tell stories so join me at the intersection where writing and excitement intersect!

You can jump into Vella below by clicking on a title. Remember if you like the story then click +follow story and you'll receive a notification every time I upload a new episode.

Mercy Mills

Story (teller)


The New Immortals

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