Eric May – Media Consultant




Resolution: what happened?

After character, after conflict, comes the story’s resolution.

Resolution doesn’t mean “happy ending.” Good stories reflect life. And just like life, stories don’t always have happy endings. 

“Resolution” means the character has solved the problem laid out in the conflict… or not.

A & A+

Resolution or not, what’s more important about story resolution is structural. The story's first element and its last element are always related.

The story always ends where it began, but with a twist, what has changed: how the character solved the problem (or didn’t). That change, is the story.

This pattern occurs about 100% of the time, in stories, in books, on television, and in the movies.

Graphically, it could look like this: A (first element) changes to A+ (last element) 100%

By the end, “A” has changed into “A+”… it’s still “A”, but different. A has been changed by the “+”, by the story.

The end of the journey: a complete cycle

It’s not arbitrary. 

The reason is that ending the story at the point where it began is psychologically reassuring for the audience. 

For the character, it’s the completion of a cycle, a complete circle, the “end of the journey.”