1. Sydrak
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    Sydrak Member

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    Ending for an unresolved story?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Sydrak, May 23, 2014.

    Wasn't sure where this belonged...

    I'm writing a story about a friends situation with his dad, which is ongoing, and most likely never will be resolved in real life. So how do I write an ending to something that is still unresolved? I am taking a few artistic freedoms but I don't want to go too far away from reality.
     
  2. HelloThere
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    HelloThere Contributing Member

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    I'd focus on the character's feelings and reflections, how does he feel about the fact that this whole thing is unresolved? Have you finished the novel? If not then you might have a clearer by the time you are nearing the end.
     
  3. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    That's kind of what I'm facing with one of my works in progress - one of the main characters (a little girl), dies from cancer, and half of the book is about how she deals with the death. At the end, she discovers that her daughter has written a letter, and once she reads it, she feels "more at peace". It sounds ultra cheesy, but it can be one of the ways to go. You don't need to give complete closure, but give both the characters and readers some sort of hope, like the dad smiling at the character, or whatever. It really doesn't have to be huge, because as you say, too many artistic freedoms is not real life.

    I agree with HelloThere, as well; if you haven't finished the novel, wait until you have, and once you have, leave the manuscript and work on something else for a couple of weeks to a month. When you eventually come back to it, read through it, and you might discover a good way to end it, just by reading through it again. I know that's worked for me several times in the past. :)
     
  4. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I'm going to start out making a few assumptions. To the extent the assumptions are incorrect, the advice given becomes either less correct or less relevant. My assumptions:

    1. Both you and your friend are under 21, possibly under 18.
    2. You are not writing about this for publication (in any format or venue).
    3. Your intention is to write a piece of fiction rather than non-fictional documentation, such as a case history.

    Anthony Trollope wrote his Palliser novels with Victorian era politics as the backdrop. Since he wrote in serialized fashion about contemporary politics, the backdrop kept changing and so did the background of his stories. However, the stories weren't about Victorian politics, they were about a circle of fictional characters whose stories did not have to change when the politics did. Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee wrote a fictionalized version of a historical event in Inherit The Wind but it was long after the Scopes trial and the non-fictional story was complete. If you read the history of the Scopes trial and then read the play, you will see the facts with which Lawrence and Lee played fast and loose (but they do state at the outset that the play is intended as a work of fiction). Neither of these fits your facts.

    Your assumption that your friend's situation will never be resolved is untrue. It will be resolved, one way or another. They may at some point affect a complete reconciliation (with or without the assistance of others). They may agree to a truce for the sake of family peace. They may remain in active, unending conflict. They may resolve never to have anything with one another ever again. Or, they may, by mutual inaction, remain estranged from one another until one of them dies. Any other possibilities are just variations on a theme. One of the above will, at some point, happen.

    In creating a work of fiction, you have a choice - just as you have a choice as to what facts you leave unchanged and what ones you choose to alter - you can wait for one of the above to happen (it might take years; for that matter, one alternative might be taken at first, only to be reversed later) or you can pick one. If you pick one, it might be the one you would most like to see come to pass. It might be the one you consider the most dramatic (and therefore filled with the most story-telling possibilities). Or it might be the one you consider the most likely. It all depends on your reasons for writing the story.
     
  5. Inkwell1
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    Inkwell1 Active Member

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    Uh...are they perfectly healthy? Perhaps make the narrator/boy quite ill, and end it when he dies. Add an epilogue for a touching summary of how he looks out for his parents on earth.
     
  6. Sydrak
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    Several of you mention how the ending might get clearer as I'm getting closer to the end, but it won't be a long story so I was thinking I would be able to see where it was headed.

    1. I'm 26, my friend is 30. (Is it my language that makes you ask? Just out of curiosity?:p)
    2. No, I'm not going to publish a story about a personal issue my friend has with his father! Therefore the venue is my friend and I.
    3. It was not my intention to write fiction at least, but perhaps its better to say it was inspired by real events? Because I have created artificial places to bring forth an issue I do know my friend faced. For example if I know of a thought he had about the issue at hand, I just don't know if he had it it while sitting on the toilet or in bed at night, so I sometimes had to make up the place. If that makes any sense. But every important event and thought is as real as I think I can make it.

    But I agree, it will be resolved, but not within the time of finishing the story(unless something drastic happens). So I still need a kind of ending, although things are not resolved. In real life the resolve will probably be the passing of his father, but I can't wait for that to happen so it will be an open ending?

    My reason for writing the story is that I identify with my friends troubles, we're kind of in the same boat. I guess it is a bit therapeutic...? But I still want it to have some kind of ending since its a present for my friend.
     
  7. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Then I would suggest you devise an ending from which (s)he will derive the greatest level of comfort/support/encouragement.
     
  8. Pandemonia
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    Pandemonia Member

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    The issue can be unresolved but the character(s) can still learn some insight that will help them deal with it.
     

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