Elements of Plot: Resolution


Last week you learned about Falling Action, what it is, and why it’s important. Remember that falling action is everything thing that happens because of your climax. You’re more likely to talk about the heroes return home, how the climax has directly affected the hero, and/or what the direct after-effects are at the scene of the climax. Its length will vary by story, genre, and form. And now that you’ve tramped your way through exposition, rising action, climax, and falling action, it’s time for the last element of plot, resolution.

What is Resolution?

Resolution is the closing of your story’s current plot, and most of its subplots. Look at resolution as that last bit of story that tucks your reader in at night before bed. They’re coming to the end of the day (or whatever period your story covers) and are getting the final reassurances that their time has not been wasted.

When you make sure that your tying up your plot lines, don’t forget that the major conflict of your story should have been tied up, or started to be tied up, at the conclusion of the climax. Here, you’re catching those last few strands to either close out the book and make it operate fully on its own, or splicing the few threads that carry it across into book two, three, four, or five. (And possibly more, depending on how much you’ve given yourself in this story.) The resolution is where you’ll find closure around the what many call the B-Story, the story that runs parallel to your character’s story that almost reflects what the character truly needs to learn.

Think of your resolution as the “Happily Ever After” part of your story. Your characters and readers have just spent the last 300 pages making it through all the turmoil of your book, and here is where you give them that final pay off. Revisit and deliver on any promises made earlier in the book here. For example, if your hero is supposed to find themselves and they think to do that they need to save as many lives as possible, the resolution should show a semblance to that past desire, but with the realization that the way they found themselves was more internal than external actions.

Why is Resolution Important?

The resolution is important because it ties off not just the story problem, but the character arc and the sub-plot questions that were important to this story. If you don’t satisfy these areas at the end, you’ll find you have grumpy and dwindling readers. How do you make sure you write the resolution that satisfies your readers as much as it satisfies you? Because, in reality, you’re writing the story you’ve always wanted to read.

Keep your genre in mind. While tropes are, well, tropes, you can still use them to close out your story. The point where a trope becomes a cliche is when you use it as a crutch. So, take the tropes that your readers expect and mold them to your story. You can do this by subverting expectations, transforming a trope so that it could only fit your story, or only take parts of the trope that you need. This process isn’t an exact science, but that’s true of all writing. Use everything you can in your genre as a guide, not a law.

The resolution also shows if the readers should expect a sequel or not. In a first book of a series, you’re likely to see the end of the first book introducing or re-emphasizing the major conflict of the world story. Your character will reach the close of their first task just to discover that an additional complication arose from resolving the first issue.


Resolution is the part of your story where you turn all the chaos of your story into the tidy end note of a grand adventure or message. Sometimes those messages are dynamic, but often they are simple. We can break even the most complex stories down into as simple a message as love conquers all. Anything is possible if you believe, and many others. By focusing on tying up the loose threads of your story, leaving some loose but open for more, and hitting the marks of your genre’s tropes, you’re on the way to writing a strong ending. The introduction and resolution of your story will be the most rewritten parts, so don’t worry if it’s not perfect in the first draft.

Thank you for reading these posts on the Elements of Plot. I appreciate all the new followers I’ve gained just in the past few months, and I hope to keep providing worthwhile posts. Check back in next week as we move on to the next part of mastering your craft, An Introduction to Setting. As always, keep writing, keep learning, and stay fresh, my nugs!

Previous Writing Tip Post: Elements of Plot: Falling Action

Previous Post: Myers Fiction April Newsletter

Next: An Introduction to Setting

2 thoughts on “Elements of Plot: Resolution

  1. Pingback: Myers Fiction April Newsletter – Myers Fiction

  2. Pingback: The Craft of Writing: Setting – Myers Fiction

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