Resolution in a story

What is The Resolution in a Story? [Definition and Examples]

If you’re looking to learn how to write a good resolution, look no further. This is the article for you!

The resolution is the part of the story’s plot structure where the conflict is resolved. It includes the climax or main event of the story, as well as the aftermath (or falling action).

Good resolutions are memorable and leave readers feeling satisfied. They should be concrete, specific, and achievable.

In this article, we will discuss what a story resolution is, how to write one in your own novel, short story, or screenplay, and give some examples from popular literature!

What Is The Resolution of a Story?

The resolution in literature and film is the final act of a story, where the climax occurs and the conflict for the main character is resolved. It is also where everything is tied up, and all loose ends and unanswered questions are dealt with. In short, it is where the end of the story takes place.

The resolution is often seen as the most essential part of the story, where the reader finds out how everything turns out for the protagonist, antagonist, and supporting characters.

The resolution can include a happy or tragic ending, but it must be done satisfyingly to leave the reader feeling that no more needs to be said.

A strong resolution should leave the audience with a sense of closure and should wrap up the central and secondary conflicts of the main plot and the various subplots.

It should also feel like a natural ending to the story and not like something that has been tacked on at the last minute.

This section is often seen as the most challenging part of writing a story, as it can be hard to know how to resolve all the threads created by the central conflict satisfactorily. However, if done well, it can be gratifying for both the writer and the reader.

resolution in a story

How Does the Resolution of a Story Fit Into Overall Story Structure?

The resolution is the section of the story’s plot that begins just before the climax and ends with the story’s final image or moment. It is the point at which the main conflict of the story for the main character is resolved.

The resolution can be happy or unhappy, but it must offer an ending to the central conflict. Without a resolution, there is no conclusion to the story.

The resolution typically begins when the protagonist takes action to end the central conflict once and for all.

This action may be physical, such as fighting or running away; mental, such as making a decision or coming to a realization; or emotional, such as forgiving or gaining an understanding. Sometimes, the resolution occurs when someone else takes action on behalf of the protagonist.

After the climax, there is usually a period known as the falling action, during which loose ends are tied up, lingering questions are answered, and any final misunderstandings are clarified. Through this process, we see how the main character and their world have changed, and the story ends.

Freytag’s Pyramid

freytag's pyramid

Freytag’s Pyramid is a dramatic structure that writers have used for centuries. It is named after German writer Gustav Freytag, who first described it in his book Technique of the Drama.

The pyramid is divided into five sections: exposition (introduction), rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.

The resolution is the final section of the plot structure pyramid, in which the story’s conflict is resolved, and the story ends. This can be a happy ending, a sad ending, or a bittersweet ending.

While similar to the three-act structure outlined by Plato in Poetics, there are marked differences between the 3-act plot structure diagram and Freytag’s Pyramid, particularly in terms of the length of rising action, the point of occurrence of the climax, and the length of falling action (as illustrated in the diagrams above).

In addition, in a classical three-act structure, the resolution is not merely the very end of the story, as Freytag indicates, but the entirety of the third act, which includes the climax, falling action, and ending.

rising falling action in a story

In either case, the resolution is usually when the protagonist defeats the villain or finally gets what they’ve been striving for.

Sometimes the resolution is more open-ended, and it isn’t clear whether the protagonist has achieved their goal. But either way, the resolution marks the end of the story’s main conflict and signals a new beginning for the protagonist.

Whether it is a happy or tragic ending, the resolution is when the story reaches its conclusion.

Why Is It Important to Have a Resolution in a Story?

A story without a resolution is like a roller coaster that never stops. It’s exciting for a while, but you want to get off eventually.

The same is true of unresolved stories. They may be intriguing at first, but eventually, the lack of closure becomes frustrating.

A strong resolution ties up loose ends and provides a sense of closure and satisfaction, two elements that are essential for any good story. Without it, a story’s plot structure feels unfinished and unsatisfying.

What Happens After the Resolution in a Story?

In some stories, the climax is followed by a brief epilogue that ties up loose ends and provides closure for the main characters. In others, the resolution is simply the end of the story, with no further explanation given.

Either way, the resolution is an essential part of the story and can involve both triumph and tragedy.

The resolution includes a turning point for the characters, who must now find a way to cope with their new situation following the end of the main conflict. For better or worse, their lives have been changed forever by the story’s events.

When done well, the resolution should answer all questions and close all plotholes. There should be no more story to tell. That said, it doesn’t mean that a new story can’t start following the end of the current one, much like we see in episodic stories and sequels.

Can I Skip a Resolution in My Story?

In every story, there must be conflict. Without it, there is no story. And without resolution, that conflict remains unresolved, and the story is unfinished.

So what happens if you skip a resolution in your story? Well, technically speaking, you shouldn’t. In a well-structured plot, all conflicts should be resolved by the end of the story.

However, that doesn’t mean you must spell it out for your readers!

Sometimes, the best resolution is one that is left up to interpretation. This can be done by hinting at what might happen next or leaving some unresolved conflict.

By doing so, you invite your readers to use their imaginations to resolve some portion of the conflict or its aftermath in their own minds. In some cases, this can be more satisfying than a traditional resolution, as each reader will have their take on what happens in the end.

So if you’re struggling to find a resolution for your story, don’t worry; just remember that sometimes, less is more.

what is the resolution in a story?

How Do I Write a Resolution for a Subplot?

Subplots can be a great way to add depth and interest to your story. However, if not handled carefully, they can also end up feeling like a messy jumble of unrelated plot threads. So how do you write a resolution for a subplot that ties everything together neatly without feeling contrived?

One approach is to have the events of the subplot echo or mirror the main plot in some way.

For example, if your main plot is about a character struggling to overcome a traumatic event from their past, you could resolve a subplot involving another character’s struggle with addiction by having them both find healing by facing their demons head-on.

Another option is to have the resolution of the subplot directly impact the main plot.

For instance, if your story is about a group of friends trying to save their community center from being demolished, the resolution to a subplot about one character’s relationship troubles could be that they finally make up with their estranged partner, and they both join the fight to save the community center.

Whichever route you choose, just make sure that the resolution to your subplot feels organic and earned and that it enhances, rather than detracts from, your story as a whole.

How do I Write The Resolution of A Story?

Often, the resolution of a story is the most challenging part of writing. After all, it’s the last chance to make an impression on the reader and tie up your story plot and subplots. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when writing the resolution of your story:

  1. Make sure your climax is the most exciting part of your story and that all the loose ends that follow it are tied up. This is your last chance to resolve any plot threads that are still dangling.
  1. Keep it simple. Resist the urge to add one last twist or turn. Often, the most straightforward resolutions are the most effective.
  1. Although it’s crucial to resolve the central conflict of the story, don’t be afraid to leave some room for interpretation. A little bit of mystery can be intriguing and add an extra layer of depth to your story.
  1. Be true to your characters. Let your characters’ actions and decisions drive the resolution of the story.
  1. Give your readers a satisfying ending. Whether it’s happy, bittersweet, or heartbreaking, ensure the ending leaves your readers satisfied with how the story has ended.
  1. Don’t rush the resolution! Take your time and let the tale come to a natural conclusion. After all, the journey may be over, but the memories will stay with your reader long after they’ve turned the last page.
  1. If you’re having difficulty writing your story’s resolution, you can try using AI story generator software programs to help you find ideas for plot points, characters, and dialogue.

Examples of a Resolution in Literature and Film

Warning: Spoilers!

Example 1 – The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

silver ring on silver ring

Following the climax of the book, where Tom Buchanan confronts Jay Gatsby about his illegal activities and intentions toward his wife, Daisy Buchanan, their love triangle disintegrates when Daisy chooses to stay with Tom. Tom scornfully tells Gatsby to drive her home, secure that Daisy will never leave him.

On the way back, the car accidentally runs over and kills Myrtle, Tom’s mistress. When it’s revealed that Daisy was driving the car, Gatsby takes the blame to save her. In retaliation, Myrtle’s husband, George, shoots Gatsby and himself.

In the end, Tom and Daisy leave together, and Gatsby’s name is dragged through the mud. Few friends attend his funeral, save for the narrator of the story, Nick Carraway, who decides to leave for the Midwest, disgusted with high society life in New York.

Example 2 – To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

to kill a mockingbird

The climax reaches its pinnacle in the big courtroom scene, where Tom is found guilty, shattering Scout’s hope that the truth of his innocence will prevail. To make matters worse, Tom gets shot in jail, and the villainous Ewell tries to take revenge on Atticus by trying to kill Scout and Jem.

The children are saved by Boo Radley, their mysterious neighbor and former boogeyman, who turns out to be a gentle man. In the end, the children learn that all people have both good and evil within them, and injustice is ingrained in the system.

Common Questions About The Resolution of a Story

What is an example of a resolution in a story?

In literature, a resolution is the section of the narrative in which the protagonist takes action to resolve the conflict and the events of the aftermath that follows. A good resolution should be both believable and satisfying.

For example, in the classic novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Elizabeth Bennett resolves to marry Mr. Darcy, despite her initial prejudice against him. This resolves the conflict between them and leads to a happy ending for both characters.

While not all resolutions need to be so romantic, they should all offer a sense of closure and finality. A well-crafted resolution can stay with readers long after they’ve finished the story.

What is the resolution of a short story example?

In the short story, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the resolution comes when Benjamin finally accepts his true self. For most of his life, he has tried to pass as a normal man, even though he is physically aging backward. He has been in denial about who he really is, but at the end of the story, he finally comes to accept himself for who he is.

The resolution is not only about Benjamin accepting himself but also about him coming to terms with the fact that he is different from everybody else.

This is a powerful resolution because it shows that it is never too late to accept yourself for who you are. No matter how old you are or how long you have been in denial, it is always possible to find peace with your true identity.

What is the purpose of the resolution in a story?

The resolution is the climax and aftermath of the story, where the tension and conflict reach their peak and are finally resolved. The resolution is typically where the protagonist triumphs over the antagonist and achieves their goal.

In a comedy, it is the happiest part of the narrative, where the conflict is resolved, and everyone lives happily ever after. In a tragedy, it is the saddest part of the narrative, where the conflict is resolved, and everyone is left to pick up the pieces.

The resolution is what makes a story feel complete and satisfying. Without it, the story would feel unfinished and unresolved.

Is resolution a conclusion?

Resolution is often thought of as the conclusion of a story, but it can also be seen as the beginning of a new chapter. When a problem is resolved, it opens up the possibility for new challenges and opportunities.

In a way, the resolution is like a turning point; it can signal a change in direction or a new beginning. Of course, not all resolutions are favorable; sometimes, they can be bittersweet or even tragic.

But even in these cases, resolution can bring about a sense of closure and understanding. In many ways, the resolution is what we make of it; it can be the end of something or the start of something new.

What are climax and resolution?

The climax of a story is the point of highest tension, after which the resolution occurs. The resolution is the loosening or release of that tension, often resulting in a return to equilibrium. In simpler terms: the climax is the big turning point or problem, and the resolution is how that problem gets solved.

Oftentimes, the climax and resolution occur back-to-back in quick succession; however, sometimes, there is a period of time between the two events, as tension gradually dissipates.

Regardless of whether the climax and resolution are close together or far apart, they are both essential elements of any good story.

Are climax and resolution the same?

The terms climax and resolution are often used interchangeably, but they refer to two different aspects of a story. The climax is the point of most significant tension or conflict when the protagonist must face their greatest challenge. The resolution is the conclusion of the story when the conflict is resolved, and the story comes to an end.

While the resolution may occur at the same time as the climax, it is not necessarily the same thing. The resolution is the final outcome of the story, while the climax is simply the point of greatest tension or conflict.

grayscale photo of train rail

Summary: What is the Resolution of a Story?

A story’s resolution is the point at which the conflict or problem is resolved. It can be a happy ending, a sad ending, or anything in between.

The important thing to remember is that a story must have a resolution if it’s going to satisfy readers and make them feel like they’ve finished something.

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