1. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    What do you think of an ambiguous ending?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by deadrats, Aug 19, 2016.

    What do you guys think about a story with an ambiguous ending? Not so neatly tied up and could mean more than one thing. The story is a bit of a mystery with elements of a slow-moving thriller if that makes any sense. It could be a murder mystery of sorts, but there are no detectives and if this guy is really dead comes into question. I kind of want the ending to raise a new set of questions.

    I don't know if this makes a difference, but this is a screenplay I've been working on. Though a bit challenging, I completely love writing it. I think it is somewhat of a more artsy screenplay than mainstream, but who knows. I don't even know what you do with a screenplay. I asked my friend who has made a few documentaries that were shown at festivals to make my script into a movie. He laughed. That's all I got.

    Back to the ending. I guess I want to leave it ambiguous if my character was really killed or is even really dead. Do you guys think that could work? I don't really plan out anything I write, but I'm at the point where I'm starting to think about the ending. I don't have to go all ambiguous. I'm not married to the idea. This particular way to end the story just sort of popped in my head. I'm thinking it could work, but I've also been told this sort of thing (ambiguity) is hard to pull off. Are you ever ambiguous with your writing? Have you tried to be? Did it work?
     
  2. Lyrical
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    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

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    They can work, if they're done right. If not, they can be tremendously dissatisfying and a letdown. But there are many examples of endings leaving the audience with huge questions - Inception being the most recent and most well-known one I can think of now. Alfred Hitchcock also specialized in some rather odd and open-ended endings. Many episodes of the Twilight Zone definitely leave you with that unfinished, unsettled feeling. So yes, I definitely think that some ambiguous endings can work, particularly if the only question you leave your readers/viewers with is whether or not your MC is dead.
     
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  3. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    In most stories, there will be multiple threads that could/should/would be tied up at the end. If most of them are, the rest can dangle AFAIC. Even if the most important one is left dangling, if the rest are all sorted out, I'm even good with that because I can then infer how the 'important' one comes out.

    And there's always an argument for implying an outcome so the reader gets to feel satisfied because they, in essence, came up with their own ending.
     
  4. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    I agree with the above opinions.
     

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