Readers (and authors) want satisfying endings…

thick strong rope on deck

I don’t mean that every loose end must be tied up, or every mystery solved, but the main points have to have some resolution, even if it’s temporary. More important from a writer’s perspective, whatever premise, plot device, character flaw, or question asked in the inciting incident (Act I of the three part structure) needs a definite resolution in or near the climax (Act III’s pivotal moment). The best stories see the main character triumph not just over the antagonist, but over whatever held them back from heroism to begin with. Luke lets the force guide him, Frodo gives up the ring (and a finger), After defeating Shaddam IV, Paul Muad’Dib sees the bloody Jihad unleashed in his name.

Okay that last one sets up the rest of the Dune series, but the resolution still ties up the majority of the plot set up in the first Act. Each of those examples feels fulfilling because the problems encountered along the way, Frodo’s Journey, Luke’s battle with the Empire, and Paul’s confrontation of ‘The Outer World’ satisfies the readers desire to finish what Act I sets in motion. Catharsis in each of these stories comes from the resolution of the immediate conflict, the main character and their companions survival is an added bonus that makes their victories even more satisfying. Look for that same idea in one form or another in Fantastic America, not that all the loose ends will be tied up, but that Ashley Monahan will resolve the issues she struggles with through the climax.

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