Plot Resolution: How to Write a Successful Dénouement

Traditionally, plot resolution in literature is the part of the story where the main source of conflict is resolved into a neat little bow.

This is your chance as the writer to tie up loose ends (or leave a few openings for a sequel).

But a resolution can also simply be a cathartic tool (that is, a tool to give psychological relief to your readers).

So, how do you go about planning your story resolution?

1.) Create a plot outline

Before you can go about the work of deciding which conflicts to resolve and how to resolve them, you must have a firm grasp of the rest of your story.

(As I have mentioned in my previous posts “Plot Development: Key Tips to Keep your Plot Organized” and “Conflict Development,” this requires you to know the ins and outs of your characters)

Once you have your characters and plot mapped out, you can start to decide which conflict(s) you would like to settle.

2.) Give back to your characters a little

Think about it, you’ve spent all of this time and energy creating your characters and making them struggle.

Consider allowing your protagonist to have this one moment of success/peace.

Think of your resolution as the moment where your character can breathe a sigh of relief (that the mission’s over, that a goal has been reached, that this period of struggle is over etc.).

3.) Make your resolution meaningful

Don’t resolve your conflict by minimizing it.

What does that mean?

Say you spent your entire book having your characters concerned about a virus that could kill the entire world in a week, only to have the characters find out at the end of the book that there was no virus in the first place.

Readers who endure these types of resolutions and are usually left with a sense of disappointment.

Why did I even read this book?

Why did the author make me care so much about a fake problem?

The last thing you want to do is leave a bitter taste in the mouths of your readers by giving them a half-formed or anti-climatic resolution.

Remember:

1.) Know your points of conflict!

2.) Resolution ≠ Happy Ending

You can give your readers consolation without succumbing to happily ever after.

3.) You do not need to resolve every point of conflict

3.) Have fun!

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