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Mystery that is not solve

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I have an question. Is it ok to have an mystery that's not solveable?

I am writing an YA mystery and the way it is going, by not having an solvable ending makes more sense. All mysteries I have reader, always
was solveable, I think.

Question is, does anybody know of an mystery that ends not being solve?
#1 - January 29, 2016, 09:26 AM

David, there is kind of a promise to the reader when they invest in a mystery and spend enjoyable time trying to figure it out before the main character that there will indeed be a solution. Mysteries are puzzles for people who enjoy puzzles. Not giving them a solution will make them feel cheated--and readers who feel cheated are not happy readers.

You might let your mystery sit for a few months and work on something else until you figure out where it really is going....

eat

#2 - January 29, 2016, 09:40 AM

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Aunty, I know mysteries need solving but I just was just wondering about it. The way the story goes is that one of the characters is charge with murder
in an cold case. After all the investigating, the 'only' character with the answers had died 2 months before. It has an convening ending without being solve.

To rewrite would involve redoing 4 to 5 chapters and adding some characters.
#3 - January 29, 2016, 10:01 AM

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Hmmm, you have to think of reader satisfaction. Is justice served? We all read for pleasure and if I'm going to be cheated from the promise, it had better be for a very good reason.
Vijaya
#4 - January 29, 2016, 10:51 AM
« Last Edit: January 29, 2016, 12:45 PM by Vijaya »
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Let me explain. 3 teenagers discover an cave while looking for treasure that has 2 skeletons in it with bank bags. It turns out
that the 2 skeletons had been in an bank robbery(50 years earlier that involve the killing of customers) with an 3rd man. The 3 teenagers
are out for the school year over summer vacation and is looking for something to do. So they decide to investigate the robbery.
Only they learn the bank had went out of business about 25 years after the robbery.

The teenagers learn the name of the 3rd person but they find out that the 3rd man had died about 6 months earlier and that's where
the case stops. I am at an lost as to what to do next.
#5 - January 29, 2016, 11:35 AM

David, since it is YA, your book is likely about a lot more than the mystery. There is probably some complication in their friendship or other relationships. Something that is your "theme", so to say. What would serve your theme better? Solving the mystery or learning to live with questions?

If you want to continue with the mystery aspect, finding out that the third man died is a perfectly acceptable roadblock--mysteries need roadblocks, moments when it seems that the main characters won't be able to go any further, though they really want to. They then have to be clever enough to look further, in the right places. Some brainstorming questions: Did the dead man have a child? Did he leave letters? Is there a map to additional treasure? Is there someone who used to work at the bank? Is there a new business on the same site as the old bank that might have a clue hidden away?

Also, what will your main characters discover at the end of this mystery? It might be time to figure that out, even if you prefer to "write to find out," like I do. Having an idea of what you are writing toward, even if that thing changes in the end, is helpful. Will they find treasure? Will they earn a reward? Will they uncover something that will help them on their college applications or with some other personal goal? Will they simply gain recognition? Is this the first case in what will become a hobby for them? 
#6 - January 29, 2016, 11:49 AM

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Those are very good questions. Suppose the 3rd man had an son and he is looking for the money too but
after finding out some of the money has already been find, he starts following the kids to find the rest.

Or 2 of the robbers got shot daring the getaway and had only gotten haft the money out of the car before they died. The 3rd man had went
to get medical supplies but get caught for something that's unrelated to the bank robbery and spends 20 years in prison. 

The happy ending would be 1 of them decides to go into law. The surprise would be the 1 who wants to do it.
Guess I will be adding more chapters to my story.

Thanks HDWestlund for the suggestions.
#7 - January 29, 2016, 12:28 PM

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David, it sounds like you're cookin' now!
#8 - January 29, 2016, 05:16 PM

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I don't have ideas that will specifically help you, but some thoughts about the general question. As a reader (even when I was a young reader) I loved ambiguous endings, but they are not what the mainstream seems to like.  :invisible

In mystery stories you do need to have a solution. But while the genre stories have all loose ends tied up neatly, it is not absolutely the only way.
 :detective  It is possible to have part of the mystery solved, and, say, at least in more literary stories, have the MC accept that somethings remain unknown. This must be acknowledged and not just shoved under the table. Then it becomes part of the MC's internal journey, just as the main mystery is solved as part of the external action.
 :detective :detective  Another option is to have the main mystery solved, but another undercurrent that leaves an open question and thus a possibility of a series.

It seems that the story you are percolating should have a straight-out tying all ends resolution. I hope some of the help here will light the spark you need.  :wc
#9 - January 29, 2016, 05:52 PM
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