Sunday, January 5, 2014


The rules of a three-part structure are to provide background, explore the thesis, and resolve the central issue of the story.  This can be accomplished in a number of technical ways all of which have been endlessly explored and exploited.

It is the last part that I question.  Few activites in my life are ever so clearly resolved as a fairy tale's happily-ever-after.  Even when I've sold a story I want to change things again and only the pressure of publication dissuades me.  I've learned over the years that any resolution is merely the beginning of another issue: Marriage is not the culmination of a romance but merely the beginning of a relationship. Whether that relationship ends happily or not is something that must be dealt with continuously and too often, unsuccessfully.  No story ever ends in finality, else there would be no need for sequels.  Life it like that, an endless series of temporary resolutions that always give rise to new beginnings, new battles.  Even the aging princess of the tale must eventually contend with her overweight prince and her fractious teenagers in the happily-ever-after phase.

Resolution is an illusion then, an artificial element forced into a story to solve a specific phase of a problem. Writers contort themselves in strange ways to resolve all the plot points, often abusing logic and human nature to wrest some sort of solution from their draft.

But can a story without resolution, and I include those where the protagonist accepts that they cannot change anything, satisfy the reader?  Until that question can be answered I will continue to plod onwards, creating resolutions that deceive the reader into believing things are nicely tied up.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for reading my blog!