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A fic whose chapters are spaced with wider updates each time. While this may be the result of a writer working for an overall better product, there is a higher chance of the writer getting derailed by work or personal life. Eventually the fic stops updating, and the reader is left wanting. The death knell comes when, rather than simply coming out with a new chapter, the author just assures the audience they haven't given up. Although the fic in question may update again - sometimes just so the author can state outright that it's a Dead Fic or on Permanent Hiatus. (Or in that matter leaving a note at the end of a chapter and telling what was supposed to happen.)

Granted, this happens all the time. After all, fanfiction is the province of amateurs, and when it's not a living, you have any reason to drop the fic -- interests may change, life may take over, et cetera. But the pain implied in "Dead Fic" is a fanfiction that's superbly well-written, that enhances the canon it was based on, that was clearly the work of love and devotion, that is left to dwindle and die.

Some fans also regard these as Dead!WIPs (Works in Progress) or WIPs of Doom since readers are forever left hanging without closure.

Compare Orphaned Series, Cut Short, Left Hanging, Stillborn Serial. Not to be confused with a Death Fic.

Examples -- but be warned, your love is doomed to be unrequited...
  • Force of Destiny is a brilliant Star Wars AU written before the prequel trilogy had been released detailing what might have happened if Darth Vader mutinied against the Emperor after learning that the Emperor had tricked him into believing he'd been permanently damaged.
  • Earthbound 199X was a charmingly well-done Earthbound fanfic that didn't get an update for over a year. And, check, the last chapter includes an Author's Note intended to assure readers that he hadn't given up yet. That was written two years ago.
  • Fell In Love With A Girl, the third in a series of amazingly well written Firefly Maliver fics, hasn't been updated since 09.
  • The Ranma ½ fic, Girl Days; one of the absolute funniest fanfics out there, starting back in 1999 or so, collected on Sofaspud's Couch... then stopped updating back in 2003 with a half-finished teaser for the latest chapter. Kenko's page hasn't had anything added since July 2004. and nothing on his livejournal since 2005.
  • Too many fangames to count have leave videos and demos but then just abruptly stop.
  • The epic Massive Multiplayer Crossover Fighting Game votefic trilogy known as the Ultimate Video Rumble teetered on the edge of this several times, a few times going nearly a year without an update. Twice this forced another writer to take over the majority of the writing duties: the first time this happened (midway through UVR 2), it was actually a vast improvement; the second time (early UVR 3)... not so much, but it got the story ended.
  • The devastatingly well-written Harry Potter prequel series, The Shoebox Project, is another example. The series had had repeatedly promised updates, but had not had an actual update in over a year (until very recently)... and then near the end of 2008, the community was hacked and all the entries were erased.
    • While talking about Harry Potter fanfics: The devastatingly HORRIBLY-written My Immortal has become -- well, immortal, despite never being finished.
    • The highly intelligent and thoughtful "Back Again, Harry," though lately a couple more chapters have been added, leading to hope that it might eventually be finished.
  • Likewise for what's probably the best novelization of The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time around. The last update was November 2006, and the previous one was nearly a year before. The first four and a half years, he averaged once a month. And long, apologetic author's note? Check.
    • Also, the really good Eloze. It hasn't updated in a couple of years, which is quite sad.
    • And the Zelda-fic masterpiece that is Never After is also, unfortunately, quite dead. The author hasn't posted a new chapter in more than roughly three years. Also complete with an assurance that yes, "This story is not dead."
  • Styx and Stones, a haunting and brilliantly written fanfiction for The Big O that announces its enthusiastic update from October 10th... 2005... Chapter Four. (Why do we even link to these fics? They'll only break our hearts...)
  • Toasty probably will never finish Mario's High School Days Super Turbo.
  • Even The Land Before Time has a few dead fics. Some of the most promising were Time Gate X (a SF Land Before Time thriller), Land Before Time: Voyage Through Time (Land Before Time with some time travel and Russians),Land Before Time: Remnants, sequel to the Land Before Time: War of the Worlds (both about a dinosaur war.) Most of these haven't been updated in several months or in some cases, a year.
    • On a further note, Time Gate X is sadly, no longer available. Pity too, as it was quite a thrilling read.
    • Also, Voyage Through Time and Remnants have been updated within the past few months.
  • A Pokémon fanfic that seems to have died after a long run is Guardians of Pokémon. Last update was the "Obligatory Christmas Special"... for 2007. Prior to that and the few chapters immediately before that, there had been another break of over a year or so. The author claims to only be able to update regularly during the summer (when school is out)...so why is Christmas '07 the most recent one?
  • Wild_Magelet's Spirits Cry, a simply marvellous Tamora Pierce fanfic, has not been updated in over two years... and counting.
    • Tamora Pierce fandom in general contains these in good quantity, maybe because the novels are generally aimed at young adults, and so fans are prone to growing out of them before they finish their magnum opus. Or maybe they just go to college and then suddenly don't have time for anything.
  • There is Unconditional Love, a Tales of Symphonia fic, that probably will never be finished.
  • One of the better written Baldur's Gate fanfics, At Soul's Edge went through a month-long gap before the author resumed, and its sequel, Malleus Animorum, has been on a long hiatus as well. Perhaps justified, however-both gaps occurred at around the same time in each year.
  • There was an excellent Final Fantasy VII fic written by author Solar Solethi called Children of Jenova set some 10 years after the events of the game. It did right by practically all the characters, and even their children (such as Tifa and Cloud's son, Zack) were well-written and compelling. Solethi stopped updating somewhere around Chapter 27, then, all her archives disappeared when RocketTownOnline went under, and now, the superb story is nowhere to be found at all.
  • The interesting Harry Potter sequel trilogy Paradigm of Uncertainty was feared to have fallen victim to this until the author released a Gainax Ending consisting of a summary of what was to happen subsequently. Mindful of this trope, the fandom appreciated it as more closure than they had expected.
  • The infamous Harry Potter fanfic The Girl Who Lived seemed to stop in 2006 during Half-Blood Prince. Perhaps the author realized that he/she'd screwed too much of the story up to make anything work, or that the protagonist was a condescending psychopath.
  • Grand Vendetta is the Dynasty Warriors version of the "Liu Bei/Sun Shang Xiang" marriage story from Romance of the Three Kingdoms, albeit with Sun Jian in charge and Lu Xun as the messenger, which hasn't updated since July of 2008.
  • The Dawn of the Dead fanfic "Through These fields of Destruction" appears to have joined the category, having not received an update for over two years. It is possible this is an orphaned fic as the author was mentioned as joining a form of Armed Forces (believed to be the USA's). The characters appearing have presently unknown fates.
  • Janelle J. AKA Miaka Shi's absurdly long-running (for a fanfic anyway. It ran from December 1995 to 2009) Sailormoon Millennia trilogy finally gave up the ghost after 14 years, leaving the remake of the first story (Sailormoon Zodiac) and the last story (Sailormoon Genesis) incomplete.
  • Unfortunately Soaring On Broken Wings, the sequel to the excellent and recommended Kingdom Hearts fanfic You Don't Miss It Till It's Gone, appears to have become this, which is a shame.
  • X-Men: Eternity, an AU House of M series by "rjb" was constantly on the brink of this. When the first storyline finally wrapped up, it seemed we were safe. Nope. The second storyline started, the updates petered out, and finally, over a year later, the author admitted the stories would not complete and started a new story, which seems to have almost immediately suffered the same fate. Sigh.
  • Touhou-Project, being a site dedicated to open-ended votefics, is littered with these by nature.
  • The So Bad It's Good Super Sentai fic Eiga Sentai Scanranger. It was written by a fanboy angry at Saban for the formula used to create Power Rangers, and 40 episodes and a crossover "movie" with Choujin Sentai Jetman were cranked out from 1997-2007. Work ended right when the story was poised to begin its apocalyptic final arc.
  • Legolas By Laura ends in mid-sentence, which is probably just as well. Possibly it doesn't quite qualify as a Dead Fic, though, because what there was of it was posted in one big chunk and there was no author's note promising to finish.
  • The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Rescue Team fan fic Rescue Team Freedom: Ravages of War is a dark but extremely good fan fic. The last update was a year ago and it is extremely unlikely that updates will come any time soon.
  • A Digimon fan fic "Digimon Tribute" is a AU Crossover fic of the first four seasons of Digimon in the Tamers storyline. It's a very well written fic but the last time it was updated was in 2006. The author also said that he lost the patience to continue it.
    • Another similar Digimon fanfic series The Fantasmic Saga, written by Twilight Arcangel, started out in 2006 and was announced to be discontinued early in 2009, due to the author's lack of time, to the distress of many readers. It got through the prologue and Book I, before posting a plot summary of the last two.
  • Randy Milholland (of the webcomic Something Positive) says, "I promise, I will finish Midnight Macabre someday".
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ! Secret of Nimh, a crossover fanfiction by a user known as Isaac2 (or ErinIsaac2). At the end of a chapter, in the middle of the final duel, the last post by the author read: "Damn. In writer's block. I still don't know what to write!".
  • The Mewtwo Project, a Pokémon thriller about how Team Rocket launches an invasion against a Silph Co. island research complex has been canceled as the author claims his inspiration dried up.
  • Pokemon Revolution is supposed to have at least 29 chapters. The last update was Chapter 17... one year ago. Sadly, the writers appear to have lost interest in it and it ends on a rather painful cliffhanger.
  • The Land Beyond Time by The Oracle was a fusion of Science Fiction and Land Before Time with a good but mind screwy plot. In addition, there were some rather...strange plot twists. However, it has been removed from FF.net and is no longer available.
    • Note: take the above with a grain of salt as all available information about this story was found on a forum and hard evidence regarding the existence of this story has not been found.
  • Street Sharks Redux by Dark Light Shades was a retelling of the TV series Street Sharks in a much... less goofy manner. Unfortunately it has not been updated for about two years, since the author has lost interest in the fandom. Her writing partner is still around though, so it's vaguely possible it could be finished through her.
  • The brilliant Lord of the Rings fic Brothers in Arms by the Nightrunners (a group of Canadian girls). Part one of the fic, which featured the original Fellowship as reincarnated post-apocalyptic humans (mostly...), was a fantastically written 39 chapters. Part two got 28 chapters and then left us on a cliffhanger.
  • Even multi-author efforts aren't immune to this, as exemplified by the round-robin writing website ImproFanfic and its various Spin-Off sites (such as Indie Madnesse). The website remained fairly active for a few years before reader and writer interest dwindled down. The series that managed to gain endings are the exceptions rather than the rule.
    • Funnily enough, when Improfanfic and other sites were still popular, there was an Impro Archive specifically dedicated to Dead Fic.
  • The fantastic Yu-Gi-Oh! fanfic Continue? Gold Edition finished its 27th chapter on a mild cliffhanger: the beginning of Noah's Arc. The story had been updated sluggishly for a while, and now hasn't been updated in 3 years. Not only that, but the author has moved on to various other projects, and has himself stated that it most likely won't be finished.
  • Out of the Shadows 2, sequel to the excellent and violent as hell Land Before Time fan fiction Out of the Shadows has not been updated in nearly 3 years. Word of God states "Cancelled though I may decide to pick up on it later" but sadly, that seems very unlikely.
  • Also from the Land Before Time section, Land Before Time: The Mysterious World has fallen silent. Last update was in 2008 and the author seems to have vanished. Sadly, the chance of it being continued is nearly nonexistent.
  • A Jedi's Destiny: Episode I: Rise of the Sith, a Land Before Time meets Star Wars cross has not been updated since December of 2008. The author says he is revamping the story but there has been no visible progress. Which is quite sad because the story is quite good.
  • The Aging of Haruhi Suzumiya is actually one of the better Suzumiya Haruhi fanfics out there, with quite a bit of character development. It's been 4 months since the last update, and over the 1 year between the last update and the time it was published, there are now 7 chapters.
  • Dark Heart High had 69 in late 2006/early 2007. It's now mid-2010 and there hasn't been any change. Worse, there are posts on the Improfanfic forums from 2008 wondering if the site is even still active.
  • Go West is an extremely good Marvel Universe fanfic by Jeremy Bottroff that resurrects Doug and Warlock and mixes in assorted members of The New Mutants and makes them into a family. It ends 26 chapters in. There's a canon story set later in continuity featuring a battle against Cable and his X-Force, but the main story halts on several cliffhangers. Also heartbreaking because it's one of the few stories that really fleshes out The Hellions.
  • It may not be the best written fic in the world, but the Batman story Pay Attention, was at 40 chapters and going strong at levels of pure awesome when the author pulled a Houdini in 2008.
  • Hitchhiker. It's excruciatingly hard to find a well-written Thrawn story, let alone one where he's in a relationship. This is one of them. It started being posted in June of 02, updated regularly on the Jedi Council Forums, slowly started slipping, chapterlets shortening and more time elapsing between each. By June of 03 it quit entirely. The writer, shezan, does respond to PMs on Live Journal, and if you're polite will tell you what her vague plan for the rest was before she stopped writing.
  • This Harry Potter fanfic, Pig in a Wig: nine chapters with the best Dudley characterization I've seen, and abandoned just when the plot starts to pick up. Active 2002-2003.
  • A.L. de Sauveterre's Harry Potter and the Society of Orpheus and Bacchus accomplishes the impossible: playing all the cliches and fanon of Harry Potter fandom during the Three-Year Summer into a glorious, hilarious, compelling, and exceedingly well-written (if rather verbose) fanfiction. It never takes itself too seriously, yet is still dramatic and a wonderful continuation of the style of the earlier books. Then, at twenty-seven chapters it stops, still unfinished. Later chapters were even incorporating characters from The Order of the Phoenix [1]. It was last updated January 21st, 2004.
  • The excellent Star Wars spoof Bad Boys: JEDI Style, which was written by a woman with bipolar disorder who announced her permanent retirement from fanfic writing in 2007. Luckily, she had already plotted out the entire story and posted an outline of the rest.
  • There is a hilariously funny Temeraire band AU out on the internet. The writing is fairly solid and everyone is in character. Sadly the last update was in 2009 and it looks like an update will not be coming. But the 3 extant parts are visible below.
  • Darth Howie's Creek was a Final Fantasy VII fic, thoroughgoing spoof of the concept of the Mary Sue, backhanded sendup of several posters at the hosting board and their board culture, and an intriguing look into the lives of the little people who made Shinra atrocities possible, all at once. Then board drama happened twice, one author lost interest in the fandom while the other took months between updates, then major drama happened between the two authors, and those who were still reading packed up their hope and hit the road, leaving the hosting forum a ghost town.
  • One of the only fics for the Lucky Star pairing Misao/Ayano, and possibly the only dark one for it, the fanfic Mascara Sonreindo hasn't been updated in 2 years as of now.
  • The pure WAFF Naruto NaruHina fic One Small Step was originally supposed to be part of a 30-chapter project, but the last chapter was released in March 2008. Even the author's protestations that it is not dead haven't been heard in over half a year. This is a particularly painful example as the series (which began as a prequel, starting from a single change 5 years before the start of the series) had finally caught up to the events of the first chapter, leaving the series stopped on a massive cliffhanger.
  • The Nanoha doujin Betrayers only released a single chapter. In it, we see Jail has finished the Combat Cyborg program, Hayate has evidently started a civil war, and Nanoha is obliterating anyone who gets in the way... including Fate Testarossa and Subaru. It's a dark and cynical look at the Nanoha universe, realistically drawn and very well written. The purpose behind the war, Hayate's actions, and Nanoha's disturbing change of character haven't been answered in 3 years... and there's still no word on chapter 2.
  • The Naruto fanfic Foxhound was, in the author's own words, 'Discontinued. Planned to be an epic.'
  • So, Yoshizilla Rhedosaurus, when will "Yoshi Kart" update? What's that? Never? When will it finish? Never? Sounds like a plan!
  • Gargoyles Fan Verse The Gargoyles Saga released its last update in 2006, with a three-year gap from the last one.
  • Fans of the marvellously snarky Harry Potter Marcus Flint/Katie Bell shipper fanfic Detained got excited when it was uploaded to a new journal of the author in 2009, as it had been on hiatus for several years by then. Sadly, she still hasn't been able to update it. We live in hope!
  • Annelise, though not technically fanfiction per se (unless you count history as a fandom), but it's still a great read. Too bad it hasn't been updated since 2005.
  • The Lonely Traveler, easily the best His Dark Materials fanfiction (a series, that oddly, has very little relative to its popularity), was permanently and prematurely ended in 2004.
  • The New Students, a Harry Potter and Yu-Gi-Oh! crossover fic in which Yugi, Ryou, and Marik are invited to Hogwarts. It's hosted on Kokorononaka.net, which hasn't been updated since 2007.
  • The obscure Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito has very little fanfiction. By far the longest is a semi-dead fic called "Unabridged" that follows the anime continuity rather closely and focuses on the consequences of Eve's meddling with spacetime. Notable for very possibly not having an Eve/Hazuki ending (author hasn't decided yet), giving Lilith considerable character development (and snark), pointing out exactly who Arya is, and a reference to Dr. Strangelove involving Kogechibi and a very large bottle rocket. Also intended to cross over into Kannazuki no Miko of all things.
  • Eternal Arcadia is an unbelievably good novelization of the video game Skies of Arcadia that partially suffers from this. The author has such a busy life that the fic ended up falling silent after chapter 22 and an obligatory "I haven't given up" message. A year later, she came back to it and steamrolled through 14 more chapters, but after that point she hasn't updated since May of 2009. It's especially a shame because, in terms of game chronology, she has all of three or four more chapters to go, though her tendency to expand on interesting sideplots would probably add another chapter or two to that count.
  • Birthday_Massacre by Skitts is a great Kingdom Hearts horror fic, with interesting characterization and a plot that starts off disjointed, but weaves together subplots and the main plot into something great. It isn't even very gory, but it's unsettling in a good way, a way that compels you to read on. Unfortunately, it was last updated 3 years ago (in 2008) after its 16th chapter was uploaded. A few months after that last update, the author wrote "I really can't be bothered with this site anymore XD" on their profile. And, sadly, it was just when the story was all coming together too.
  • A Phantom of the Opera fanfiction called An Eternity of This by Mandy the O was, in its original form, an epic fic of approximately 61 chapters, whose romance was intertwined with a plot suspenseful enough to spawn fanfiction of its own. However, Mandy took the story down in 2005 to re-work it (before the original edition had even ended) and only re-posted 17 chapters. It's been dead since 2006, along with the other 2 fics on the author's profile.
  • Morning Star is an excellent Death Note fanfic about Mello and Matt, set during the events of the series, which featured interesting characterisation and explored the relationship between the two characters. Unfortunately it started suffering from schedule slip about 11 chapters in, and hasn't been updated since 2008.
  • Through Broken Glass. Perhaps the best crossover between Naruto and Final Fantasy VII. Mary Sue, Porn Without Plot, and Plot Hole free! Also, it hasn't been updated for over two years.
  • There are few fics in the ICarly fandom that are extremely good in comparison to the quality of the fandom itself. It's also rare to find fics with unique romance themes that have not died. Several of the stores on the fanfic rec page subsequently became dead after being put there: iGo To The Hospital, the longest Gen Fic, had 107 chapters updated in the space of roughly a year. Then the next chapter took ages to be uploaded, the one after that even longer, and right now it's nearly a year 'dead'. iDiscover I Have Superpowers updated 13 chapters in about 6 months, then stopped right at a heartbreaking moment of angst between two of the main characters.
  • Before it was removed from fanfiction.net and thus the whole internet, a couple years back, Final Fantasy VII: The Cheesy American Soap Opera Version, loosely formated as a TV show, was a complete guilty pleasure, filled with over-the-top out-of-characterizations, ludicrous soap opera plots, and many delightful jabs at the source material. Lemme put it this way: one "season" ended with a tearful, honestly moving goodbye between Cloud and OC love interest (and non-Sue, funnily enough) Mary, in which she left in a cab and he went back into the coffee shop with the rest of the gang, only for the coffee shop to explode. It's that kind of fic.
  • 72 Hours Uprising: The follow-up to the most well-known Battle Royale fanfiction, Seventy Two Hours, has stopped. It seems that the author could come up with an Even Better Sequel, so he gave up. However, he did actually get into publishing, so it's all good.
  • Little Kuriboh's FANTASTIC fic Spirit on fanfiction.net. There have been hundreds of reviews clamouring for it to continue, having left off at an awesome moment, but it was last updated years ago, and LK's probably too busy by now...he says he's not a good writer. HE LIES. It's fantastic.
  • In the Daria fandom, Greystar's The Longest Year is considered a legendary deadfic. It hasn't been updated in years, despite near constant begging from the author's fans.
  • FourLeggedFish authored some very-well written, heartwrenching and NC-17 Sherlock Holmes fics, and then disappeared of the face of the Earth in July 2010, leaving such fics as Dictractions, Sensory Overload unfinished.
  • The Lilo and Stitch community has Simon's Experiments II by Allius111, which left its 28th chapter on a cliffhanger, and hasn't been updated since January 2010. The worst part is the author noted in the previous chapter that he was buckling down on the story, planning to release a chapter once every two weeks.
  • Dawn of the Noobs, a Runescape fic by Werelizard, complete with Blatant Lies on his profile.
  • Blinded, an extremely well-written Dragonball Z fanfic by dragonscales is about what would happen if Gohan went blind after his fight with Cell. Very well done and creative, but sadly it hadn't been updated since 8-20-03. Worse of all? She quit right in the middle of the World Tournament.
  • Hitman Miami, an Affectionate Parody of Hitman 2, ended abruptly after eight chapters. Three years later (2006), the author claimed that he actually had a "pretty deep plot and a twist ending" conceived for the fic, and hoped to finish it one day. A very belated death-knell assurance.
  • The Yu-Gi-Oh! fanfic What Doesn't Kill You is far and away not only one of the best-written Azureshipping (Seto Kaiba / Anzu Mazaki) fics out there, but one of the best Yu-Gi-Oh! fics, period. Beginning in October 2003, the author prefaces the first chapter by saying that the story is slated to be 36 chapters long. However, five and a half years since the first post, only 26 have been posted, the last being in April 2009. Regardless, it is an absolute Doorstopper of 515 thousand words, but you probably won't complain, as every last one is very compelling. The author, Azurite, says in her most recent profile update, in May 2011, that a trip abroad might rekindle her muse. Nearly a year later, it seems we may never know.
  • Tease Me, Tease Me Not is a Final Fantasy X High School AU, written by spades7717. A few certain liberties are taken with characterization, Paine from X-2 exists inexplicably as a Cloudcuckoolander with a peculiar Catch Phrase, and a big Author Appeal in the form of Dance Dance Revolution provides the plot's forward progress in a few chapters. Given all of the above, it's actually quite enjoyable. Unfortunately, the fic ends on a cliffhanger with chapter 22, which was posted in October 2005, and Spades seems to have disappeared with her last update in late 2008.
  • With the suicide of author Brian Randall in January 2014, Kyon: Big Damn Hero (as well as his other unfinished works) now qualifies.
  • Jackie Diaz unceremoniously stopped updating How I Became Yours: Rise of the Agni Army somewhere around 2010 (in the middle of an action scene, no less). It's speculated that this may have had to do with the announcement of The Legend of Korra fully sinking her ships.
  • This author stopped updating her Gundam Wing fic series two chapters into the 6th story, leaving it on a massive cliffhanger. The story was last updated in 2002, so it's unlikely to ever be finished.

Notes

  1. which actually may have contributed to its diminishing...
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