Musings

Resolution

No, I don’t mean the New Year’s variety. I’m talking about tying up loose ends in your work. Resolving all the conflicts you set up to drive your plot. I’ve been kicking around this blog topic for a week or so in my head, thinking about good examples of work with resolution and the best ones I came up with are The Count of Monte Cristo and V for Vendetta–both books that have been made into two of my favorite movies. And they are my favorite because they tie up all the loose ends. In each of these stories the reader/watcher is exposed to terrible injustices to the hero/heroine, which appropriately get one’s dander up and keep us reading/watching. And the remainder of the stories are about not only revenge, but justice. In The Count of Monte Cristo, Edmond Dantes deals with every last one of the men involved in orchestrating his exile to the Chateau D’Ife from Dan Glass (which I’m sure I am misspelling) to the Count de Mondego. And in the end he STILL gets the girl (and a son to boot). I love this story because everybody gets their comeuppance. Justice is served. In a world where justice is so often ignored or failed, this is appealing escapism. In V for Vendetta you’ve got a whole group of people who helped to orchestrate one of the worst biological massacres in human history–and the lone survivor not only exacts vengance upon them, but effectively topples a Nazi-esque government–right wins again. Though not without sacrifice.

In applying this to our own work as writers, I think it’s important to tie up those loose ends and resolve those conflicts we love to throw at our heroes and heroines to torture them. If there’s a romantic element, the road to true love never did run smooth, but it has to arrive in the end (be it a book or of a series, if the conflict spans several books) or the reader is left feeling unsatisfied and with a desire to chuck the book at the nearest wall. If there’s a bad guy, he’s not supposed to win. That one doesn’t always get carried out, of course, but it takes an incredible writer to pull that off and leave the reader satisfied with a lack of resolution. I could delve into the territory of the anti-hero, but I am out of time and haven’t had enough caffeine to fuel that thought. Off to school to deal with the little terrors…

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