What Is the Resolution in a Story?

In order to write a story, you need a beginning, a middle and an end.

  • The beginning is needed to engage the audience by introducing the plot.
  • The middle portion should develop the plot by creating a level of anticipation, conflict or unanswered questions.
  • The end is needed to resolve any issues that the plot created. ​This piece often is called the resolution.

1. Identification

The plot is the story’s foundation, and the ​resolution​ is the ending element.

So if the story has a mystery that needs to be solved, the ​resolution​ is when that would take place.

For example, if the good guy needs to be rewarded for his due diligence--or the girl still hasn’t gotten the guy--the ​resolution ​would provide their fate.

The ​resolution​ is the final curtain call of the story; it will usually happen very quickly and is also known as the “denouement” (see References below).

2. Function

Every story has a series of events that happen in chronological order. The climax and the ​resolution​ are closely related, and they happen toward the end.

The climax is the high point of the story (e.g. a battle, confirmation, revelation, catharsis, etc.).

Once the climax has been ​resolved​, the story can end (see References below).

3. Significance

The ​resolution​ also conveys the destiny of characters.

When an audience is invested in the plot of a good story, they want to see it through to the end. In some cases, the audience may be sympathetic or empathetic to certain characters.

Other viewers may be rooting for the underdog to win or waiting for the bad guys’ demise.

The ​resolution​ of a story is an intricate part to the narrative because it provides closure for the audience (see References below).

4. Considerations

When you write a ​resolution​, you should attempt to create a character your audience will genuinely care about.

If the plot can cause the audience to acquire feelings for your character, (even if the character's circumstances are new to them), then they will also care what happens to the character.

Even if you want your main character to be hated by your audience, they will still want to know his fate.

Creating a character that really engages your audience will make for a successful ​resolution​ (see Resources below).

5. Potential

When writing a ​resolution​, you will garner the best results if your character is pursuing a particular goal.

If the character has an objective, you can shape the plot of your story around accomplishing the goal.

At the beginning of the story, she loses her husband in an accident, and she needs to find a way to fend for herself and her children.

The ​resolution ​could be the “stay-at-home mom” finding the resources to take care of her family (see Resources below).