izhilzha (izhilzha) wrote,

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Unresolved Resolutions in Fiction

This isn't going to be quite as broad a discussion as the subject line might suggest, but the topic has come into my path once more with the posting of my most recent fanfic piece.

Here's my central issue: people, particularly readers of fan fiction (though also others), seem to have what amounts to a fetish for neatly tied-up endings.

I'll go so far as to include myself in the list--part of the time. I like CSI, and a good detective story usually ties up at least a majority of the plot/character loose ends. That's the whole point; the uncovering of secrets and the piecing together of the puzzle.

But sometimes, there's a reason to leave something unanswered, unresolved, to not tied all your strings into neat little bows.

The Numb3rs episode "In Plain Sight," was one of these. The plot is tied up neatly, but Charlie's reaction to this type of case is not something that can be resolved in five minutes at the end. He gets a little bit of resolution (Charlie (bewildered): How you do guys deal with stuff like this? Megan: We did something good today.), but that's the extent of it.

In my ficlet, I gave him more of that emotional resolution, I gave him the necessary next step. At least one reader commented thanking me for doing so.

What gets me is that several others left comments asking when I'm going to continue the fic, that they think it should have been longer, that it's not finished. What they want is concrete resolution: they want Charlie to find out what happened to his childhood friend, the one he feels guilty for not "saving."

That wasn't the point of my story. Maybe Charlie won't ever find her, maybe he will...but my point was about Charlie realizing that his own journey and resolution can't depend on outside sources.

I gave it all the resolution it needs.

I've been writing stories like that for a long time. If the reason I'm writing it is fulfilled, then the story is complete. There's no need to continue it. I keep wondering why other people don't get that sort of story. I've got some other examples I could use, but at least one of them is an unpublished original story.

Any thoughts? Other opinions? Other examples?
Tags: numb3rs, popular opinion, rant, resolution, writing

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