1. Smithy
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    Smithy Senior Member

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    Unresolved threads

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Smithy, Oct 5, 2009.

    I know that your first novel has to stand alone, and mine does, with all the major plot elements resolved, but is it okay to leave a couple of minor threads open and unresolved in the hope that they let you write more, or should you tie about absolutely everything?
     
  2. Sillraaia
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    Sillraaia Senior Member

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    Leaving some smaller threads open will give you some room to work with a sequel, and let the reader know to expect another one. As long as the book stands alone, I would think it is good. :)
    I have read books with a few smaller things left unanswered.

    (In no way a professional opinion, I am no author or editor/publisher.)
     
  3. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    Some books even leave major questions unanswered. The ending of Stephen King's "Cell" was similar to the classic short story "The Lady or the Tiger."

    ...which was why I hated "Cell." I hate unresolved story.

    I'd beware of leaving loose ends, with the possible exception of people's everyday relationships as I think it's a simple fact of life that loose ends are part of our everyday relationships... and possibly, a second exception of the very clear sequel set-up that only occurs at the end of the story, such as with a continuing adventure hero, the indication of a new adventure beginning.

    Chances are, if you alluded to something earlier in the story, somebody reading is going to want to know how that plot line turned out. Disappointing your reader is not a worthy goal for an author. It may also leave the impression of a careless author who simply forgot the subplot.

    Charlie
     
  4. Lmc71775
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    Lmc71775 Active Member

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    I think leaving the reader to wonder a little afterwards is the best way to go. Leaves room for imagination. But the main idea has to click at the end, like ah! Oh that's what it was sorta thing. You get what I mean?

    But I must say, having too many loop holes isn't such a good idea. Like what happened with this and that?

    If you intend on a sequel, you should give your readers that hope that will happen.

    Many books and movies are left open that way. Some are good and some are what the F...? It all depends on how you go about it.

    What kind of novel is it? I think the type of genre matters too.

    You bring up a good question. I myself left things open in my novel idea and don't really know if it is gonna fly. But oh well, that's a different story.
     
  5. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    The overall plot has to be resolved or concluded, of course, but leaving some things not completely resolved is realistic. Not all conflicts in life will solve themselves at the same time. In my novel, the overall conflict is regarding her potential friendship with a guy she likes and the fact that she thinks about hurting herself. The story ends when she tries to run into traffic,he stops her, and she finally lets him know how she's been feeling for years. The other conflicts related to her family don't get resolved because they are not the kind you solve in only three months, which is the time period my story takes place. They are the kind that may never get resolved in a way that works in a story.
     
  6. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Tie a knot but leave the ends of the ropes dangling, so that the reader feels the story is resolved, but continues thinking about what would happen after the last page.
     
  7. seta
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    seta Contributing Member

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    I tied everything off in my first novel. IF i do a second one then I will start a brand new line of thought with the characters. They are involved in a war and one a major battle at the end of my first novel, but the war is still ongoing. So the door is open but all the plot threads are ended.
     
  8. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like it when books leave a couple of minor unresolved threads at the end. It leaves room for imagination and keeps you thinking about the book after you've finished reading it.
     
  9. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    You don't have to resolve anything at all, its just another convention of narrative. Do whatever is in the best interest of the work, whether that's to neatly wrap up every detail in a 100 page conclusion or to stop mid-sentence without a warning.
     
  10. Kahlem
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    Kahlem New Member

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    I'm planning on making a sequel for my book by leaving out a few small parts. Though, I like to leave clues near the last few pages of the book just to give the readers clues of a sequel.
     
  11. Operaghost
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    Operaghost Contributing Member

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    Theres nothing wrong with leaving a few threads open , i rememeber this story about this small man who goes on a journey inspired by a wizrd and finds a ring, this in itself is insignifigant other than it turns him invisible but the author then managed to make three epic novels using the ring as the basis itself. i don;t think it ever came to much and i doubt people willl remmeber it but... oh no wait a minute... Lord of the rings is just one example of how a minor unresolved thread in an original novel can lead to further work. It is fine to leave soem threads unresolved, but the trick is not to write the novel as if it is part of a series, but as a standalone story, much like you would see in a drama series such as csi or something, where each episode can be viewed on its own although there may be underlying stories there which are in th ebackground and can always be picked up at a later time.
     
  12. Henry The Purple
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    Henry The Purple Active Member

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    Sometimes, what remains unsaid can be as important as what is said. It's like calligraphy...the white, blank space is as important as the black ink.

    If you are going to leave something unresolved, or hide important information from the reader, you need to have a valid reason for it. Is it effective? Is it appropriate? Are you trying to stir up some ambiguity? If it works for what you are trying to achieve, then go for it...if not, you'll only annoy the reader. Know what you are doing and why you are doing it.
     
  13. Lmc71775
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    Lmc71775 Active Member

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    Wow...I like this idea a lot...can a writer really get away with that?

    More good advice.
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    In life, everything doesn't get resolved. Leaving unresolved threads can simply mean, "Life continues." However, thre should be some sort of resolution to your principle plotline, and movement on other major plotlines. Some of these may be left to develop further in sequels, but be careful. Don't be too obvious about it. Don't leave cliffhangers, and leave the unresolved issues at least quiescent.

    There are exceptions, of course. It has become a staple of horror to leave an ending that suggests that although the immediate threat was ended, the evil will rise again, stronger and more unstoppable than before.

    But if your readers have to thumb back over the last chapter, or are looking for torn out pages at the end, because they feel they were left hanging, then you've left it too ragged.
     
  15. Lmc71775
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    Lmc71775 Active Member

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    Mr. C? *raising my hand* in class and style. My favorite book was The Lake of Dead Languages, by: Carol Goodman. I read it in a fews days span. It is the best book I've ever read completely in under a week. That left me speechless and in awe and wonderment. I fell in love with each and every character and intently wanted to become that sorta beautiful writer...is this possible for me? Not sure yet.

    My dream is to be a great writer someday, before I pass on to the next page in my own story in life...the "voice"...how do you discover your voice in print?

    I have printed magazines and all, from years of poetry. But nothing came of it but contributor copies, or the 5, 10 or 20 dollars.

    Two years I have taken a writer's course for the Institute of Children's Literature and completed it last July. My question to you is...how do you flip from, poetry, children's stories, short adult stories, and to top it off my novella...which went south. I guess I wasn't ready yet.

    How do I focus on the main genre? What is the main genre anyway? It could be multible? like drama-romance? or something like that?

    I believe the how-to book helped me somewhat, but not entirely, ya know?

    Anyway...just a thought.
     

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