40 Days of 3 Questions – Day 21

Welcome to 40 Days of 3 Questions!

For the next few weeks, meet here every morning with a notebook or document to answer three questions about writing, about your status quo as a writer, or about the writing life. You can answer briefly and go about your day, or you can use this as a warm up exercise before your regular writing schedule. Whatever works for you, works for me.

Day 21 Questions:

  1. Do you generally write stories with open or closed endings?
  2. As a reader, do you have a preference for open or closed endings?
  3. If you’ve written an open-ending story, why did you make that choice?

You may post answers in comments or keep your thoughts private–your choice!

And here is today’s pretty picture:

snow leaf

A leaf in the snow–where could this story go?

10 thoughts on “40 Days of 3 Questions – Day 21

  1. Since I write a series, I always try to leave the character arc open at the end to entice readers to want to read the next one. However, since they’re mysteries, I want that part to be self-contained and resolved in each book. I once threw a book across the room because the primary mystery wasn’t solved. It may have been solved in a later book but I still felt cheated and never read future books in the series because I no longer trusted the author to provide a satisfactory conclusion. Having said that, short stories are a different case and I don’t mind open endings in them.

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    • Edith, sometimes short stories are more of a snapshot of life so the endings can be more ambivalent and up to interpretation IMO. That’s what I’m thinking an open ending is. And I’m speaking as a reader. The short stories I write do tend to have a definite resolution.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally agree with both Annette and Edith. The mystery in my story is totally solved, but there are some characters that have problems that will continue throughout the series. I don’t care for open endings. I want to know exactly what the author intended for these characters.

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  3. I’m with Annette, Edith, and Kimberly. It’s okay to leave the character arc open, but answer the primary question (i.e., solve the mystery). That’s how I prefer to write and read. I don’t know that I’ve ever done an open ending in a short story, but I’d be more amenable to it in that form.

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  4. 1.) Do you generally write stories with open or closed endings? I’m writing a series, so I close the murder but keep the characters open for change.
    2.) As a reader, do you have a preference for open or closed endings? No real preference — must be well done.
    3.) If you’ve written an open-ending story, why did you make that choice? No my thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Do you generally write stories with open or closed endings? I have completed only short stories and but mostly they have closed endings.
    As a reader, do you have a preference for open or closed endings? For books, I want issues resolved. For short stories, either way is fine. Actually I like reading short stories that I think will have a conclusion, then I find out they don’t. Back to books. If it’s a series, then a few drifting threads are fine, but not the centerpiece issue of the book. That has to be tied up.
    If you’ve written an open-ending story, why did you make that choice? I remember one story I left open because I wanted the reader to weigh the same things I did at the end and make her own decision. I’d written it out with two different endings, neither quite working for me. I wanted to experiment with leaving the ending unstated.
    I’ve always thought it might be fun to write an “upper-age” version of the choose-your-own-ending type of story. Some days I’d read one ending and others another.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 1. I don’t bring the characters into a room for the big reveal a la Agatha Christie, but I do write mysteries with a closed ending. That is, the killer and his/her motive are clearly identified. Sometimes I don’t explain a detail or two thinking the reader can figure out that point.
    2. As a reader of a mystery, I would be dissatisfied if left to guess who is the killer at the end of the book.
    3. I have written short stories with ambiguous endings, but they weren’t who-done-it’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. 1. Do you generally write stories with open or closed endings?
    I like to tie up all the ends. However, if it’s a series, I’ll leave a something to wonder about for the next book. I might introduce it at the very end, or it might be something that never got solved in the current story.
    2. As a reader, do you have a preference for open or closed endings?
    I very much dislike a mystery with no solution. I’ve noticed a lot of stories in the top magazines, AHMM and EQMM are publishing choose-your-own-ending stories and I don’t like that. I need a body and an ending.
    3. If you’ve written an open-ending story, why did you make that choice?
    NA, I hope. If I have written one, I hope someone tells me about it.

    Liked by 1 person

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