Is there a name for the mechanic where the storyteller doesn't divulge the outcome of the end of a story because the outcome is not important to the point of the story?

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    This seems only vaguely related to the act of writing. Why do you want to know this? Are you attempting to use a device like this in your book? Aug 21, 2012 at 2:50
  • Would "Cliffhanger" work here? It may depend on the final situation in the work presented, I suppose, but it seems so close to what you want. Aug 24, 2012 at 19:25
  • @NeilFein as the literature SE site is closed I figured the best place was here. Aug 24, 2012 at 19:53
  • @Thomas I don't think so. "Cliffhanger" is more for episodic content. From wikipeida: "A cliffhanger is hoped to ensure the audience will return to see how the characters resolve the dilemma." Aug 24, 2012 at 19:55
  • @SteveMoser - Then this question isn't about writing at all. We've decided that general literary questions are out of scope here. This question is very much on the borderline, however. If we start seeing a lot of these, they'll probably be closed. Aug 24, 2012 at 20:55

1 Answer 1


At least in theater, one name for that device is open ending.

  • Hmm, thats not quite what I'm looking for. The point of not telling the ending to not so that audience can imagine how it could have ended but rather than it is not important compared to plot. Much like the quote, "It's the journey not the destination". Aug 21, 2012 at 0:59
  • I thought that was addressed (albeit indirectly) at the website, which says: "by leaving the major conflict unresolved, they [open endings] can also force us to confront your themes." Might that not be one way of emphasizing the journey over the destination? Just a thought.
    – J.R.
    Aug 21, 2012 at 1:12
  • I didn't see that. Thanks. I guess there isn't a term for it. It's just a specialized case of an open ending. Aug 21, 2012 at 1:54

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