Hello, all. I'm outlining a novella with a narrative broadly in the category of 'portal fantasy'. I'll be very brief with the context. An agoraphobic man, Alan, is given the chance to enter into a world of fantasy through a portal in his overgrown garden. His brother and his best friend follow him, entering by personal 'gates' of their own. I think I know the reason I've hesitated writing this story despite its being the most important theme of all for me. I don't know how to answer the crucial question of whether these three stay in the otherworld or not. At the end of the story they come to a place rather like a dead end because they have journeyed further back than memory or imagination itself. Or they may have free reign in a kind of blank slate. That part isn't important for now, but it sets them thinking. What should they do now? The realm overall is ephemeral and works on desires, fears and memories. For various reasons it is their desire and their ultimate dream to be here, but there is also hardship and woe. This is the difficult part. If it was a case of pure escapism, I'd follow Robert Nozick and have them decide to live in the real world (escaping somehow) because it is more authentic and real. Except Alan despised the real world as it stood and there is hardship and struggle in the fantasy world. My main character, at least, has the view that there is nobility in dying, if it came to it, by a monster or creature, a kind of embedded heroism. Besides that, I can't think of a single reason why he'd want to leave a world that is mostly beautiful, quiet and serene and is peopled with noble souls. This is extremely difficult for me, but I feel like maybe I'm biting off more than I can chew philosophically. I feel like I want them all to stay, but somehow, I can't justify it fully. It doesn't seem right for a story. Or maybe that's because I've read too many stories where the heroes come back? I feel their staying wouldn't bring about a change and yet I want them to stay. Difficult! Maybe there is an easier route to take? Edit: My solution at the minute, if I decide they leave, is that they make a collaborative wish to leave one by one. Stephen the friend wants to leave. Robert the brother says he would not want to experience the fantasy world for long without Stephen. Alan, at last, says it would not be the same without his brother. This may work for me. But I still have doubts.