Should you make all information available so that your readers know everything that transpired at the end of the book?

I am asking because there's this show called Evangelion and this show is almost impossible to follow at times, because some information are kept out of the audience's eyes and never ever shown, so piecing the story in its entirety from the available information is impossible, because some information are only made available on other materials outside of the show. Is this completely ok, and why would that be ok if it's ok, because I don't understand the point of doing that, except to frustrate your readers?


3 Answers 3


(Full disclosure, I have not watched any Evangelion)

What you're describing is a problem that frequently happens with Serialized Media. Usually when you're writing for something that needs a episode/manga/post every week, you can often run into issues with rushing to meet deadlines and/or not knowing when the series will end. As a result, writers for Serialized Media are often very good at adding new plot threads, but very bad at tying them all together to make a satisfying ending.

If you want more information on why Evangelion ended the way it did I would recommend asking a question on our sister site https://movies.stackexchange.com/

  • Quite correct and I gave you thumbs-up. The serialized media factors are quite strong with Evangelion since it is a series of movies, and also a series of video games. The only missing thing might add to the problems for western viewers is translation. Especially when it is volunteer fan translation that occasionally will have entire segments missing. The fan who offered to translate a section may have flaked or not been as good at translating as advertised, so a major hole can be created in the English version. Which then becomes effective cannon in the western version.
    – BillOnne
    Commented Dec 25, 2022 at 15:14

It's an art.

You obviously can't tell everything so the trick is to tell them enough that they are satisfied, even if they are satisfied with knowing that the question of whether, say, a ghost is real will never be settled.

All the main questions must be settled well enough for the readers. The thing is there is no bright line for what will satisfy them. Beta readers help. And intentional ambiguity is harder to pull off, so it's better to satisfy them with answers as a beginning writer.


Short answer: no, you don't need to show them everything, but it's generally good form to show them the relevant stuff by the end.

Long answer: Evangelion holds a special place in my heart and also made a lot of mistakes. I've gotten the sense that sometimes they intentionally left parts out for the sake of mystery, and other times because they messed up and forgot to include relevant information at some point.

The example I'll use is the Lord of the Rings, because it is fairly easy: Tolkien kept writing back story details on this world until the time of his death, and it was still incomplete. Some of it was fun, and some of it read more like a textbook than a story. Tolkien's LotR felt complete by the time we hit the final page; we knew who had won and lost, and we saw the conclusion to each main character's story. But we didn't need to know why there was a Balrog in Moria, or why the elves only had 3 havens in Middle Earth, or what the state of the Mathom house was after the Shire is cleared. The answers to these questions were not as relevant as the answers to other questions

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.