Reflection: Resolve Everything at the End?

I was overhearing my dad talking some time back, and he was complaining about books that don’t resolve everything in the end, as if they were always setting up for a sequel.  However, as a writer, and somebody who understands fiction, I disagree.  Endings don’t necessarily have to resolve everything, sequel planned or otherwise.

That being said, I feel I should at least resolve the main plot, and it should be satisfying.  I can’t just leave every plot thread dangling.

But it’s not always about a sequel.  I hear of some writers who don’t write sequels because they want to leave everything to the reader’s imagination.  I personally like sequels, as there’s only so much you can explore of a world in just one book, but that’s beside the point.

In general, there are many reasons a writer may leave some unresolved plot threads.  Many times, these things not being resolved is a lot of the point of the story.

Me, I personally try to think from a real world perspective.  In the real world, there is not always closure – things are not always tied up into a nice little bow.  Perhaps the resolution of the main conflict had some consequences, expected or otherwise, that create new conflicts.  These conflicts could easily appear to be setting the stage for a sequel, but they could also be just an author’s way of showing that actions have consequences.

Or maybe I want to show that some conflicts simply can’t be easily resolved.  You can’t always please everyone.

But regardless of any loose plot threads, the main conflict should come to some kind of conclusion – maybe a sad or bittersweet one, but it should reach a conclusion that feels satisfying, and makes sense for the story.

On the other hand, if I am planning for a sequel, perhaps I’ll be a bit more obvious about the unresolved items, for example, maybe the main villain in the story is actually an underling of an even bigger villain, and the bigger villain survives.  Obvious example, I know, but you get the point.

And maybe some stories are better if more is resolved.  If you want to have a very happy, optimistic tone, this will work very well.  It all depends on the story.

And now, to the part where I ask you your opinion on this.  Should every plot thread be resolved, or do you like it when there are still some loose ends?  How do you prefer stories?  Anyway, White Rakogis is now signing off.


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