Quick Thoughts: Are Endings Always Necessary?

Artist's Tools 4

“Are Endings Always Necessary?”

I came across one writer (the name I wish I could remember) who said that not every story needs an ending. I found that statement interesting because would a story be complete without an ending? But the more I thought about it, I saw validity to it in some ways.

I do believe that in writing a story, the main plot, needs a conclusion. If not, then there has to be a sequel to the story and the story has to end in a way that shows progress, hope, or some realization that will lead to the conclusion in later stories (sequel). In sum, the reader has to finish the story with anticipation and not disappointment.

When I say this, I think about the Lord of the Rings trilogy (I am basing what I say about this story on the movie and not the books, since I have yet to read all the books). If the books are similar to how the movie plays out, then the first two stories didn’t have a complete ending. Of course that was most likely fine with the audience, because they knew the conclusion awaited them. But what if the story ended with The Fellowship of the Ring? What if in the end, it was decided that Frodo would complete his mission on his own with Samwise? It could have worked, because things seemed possible for them at that point. But I think the audience would have been disappointed. I would have wanted to see what happened in Frodo’s journey and what were the results of the ring being destroyed? Also, were the other hobbits, who were taken by the Orcs, able to escape? Though the writer could have gotten away with an ending like this (maybe?), such an ending would have left the audience with many unanswered questions.

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