What are your thoughts on open-ended stories?

Dear reader, today I have a controversial topic to talk about – open ended novels. There was a time when I much appreciated open-ended stories. The mysterious cliffhangers would leave me wondering, “Oh what would have happened if he had chosen the easy path?” Or “Oh is she going to remain mysterious without revealing her true identity?” Or “Will she continue packing lunch for him as a mysterious stranger without meeting him?”

As I reader or an audience I have drawn my own conclusions feeling a sense of power. The unresolved narratives gave me a sense of liberty. I could use my imagination to give a unique ending to the story or sometimes I have left it unresolved too because not every story needs to have an ending. Some movies, books, podcasts, and paintings invited more ideas to be shared amongst friends and family for interesting conversations and perspectives.

HOWEVER, on the other hand this trend seems to have caught on a little too much, isn’t it? Many writers and storytellers seem to choose this path of ambiguous endings for their incomplete stories. Which I now find a little frustrating. Somehow all I am reading or watching or listening to lately are open-ended stories. “I need an ending, please!!”

There are too many stories with abrupt endings, it seems like the authors don’t really want to try and want the readers to do their job for them. I don’t find stories without an ending artful or intriguing anymore, it’s rather a lazy approach. What’s with the unnecessary tease? Why do we have to spend hours and not get answers to all the important plots? Some stories do not even require any layers of complexity.

“What really happened in this book?” “Why did I have to spend hours reading the damn book?” “The author might as well have ended it after the first chapter and called it a cliffhanger.” Why should the reader take the trouble of reading pages after pages and end up with nothing. Sometimes movies with abrupt endings are still fine as they’re over in a few hours. But with books, when there is no sequel, I am not really sure if randomly abrupt and ambiguous endings are fun or entertaining anymore.

Sorry, I’m done ranting. I just finished reading the book Paper Palace and I’m not very happy with the unresolved ending, hence this post. I know it’s not an easy job to write a book of hundreds of pages but as a reader, I’m requesting all the amazing writers to give their readers a good ending, open or closed as long it’s good. Thank you for reading till the end and if you’ve been on the same boat then I’m guessing you’ll share the same thoughts on this subject. If you do, then please do throw some light on your thoughts and share it with us.


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