This post will be mostly my opinions, ideas and ramblings on the concept of a story-long question. To say what I mean by it, a story-long question is something that keeps the wonder and mystery up over the course of a story. And I’m more referring to those questions that are central to a series. If the question is answered at the end of the first book/season, it won’t pertain as much to what I’m about to say.
I feel that doing a good long story question is difficult. It should be attempted if you already have an answer to the question. I wouldn’t try putting forth a mystery without having a good solution already. But that isn’t to say you can’t come up with a better answer over the course of writing. But if you don’t, you always have the original plan to foreshadow and fall back on.
Another problem I feel with having a question that takes too long to answer is that the watchers/readers might get bored. The plot might meader about to other places too much. That would depend on how interesting all the side plot is.
A third thing is that the more time people have to theorize, the more time they can come up with either the correct answer or something that seems to work even better than what the author originally intended. It lessens the impact of the answer if it’s already been said or doesn’t live up to what people had in their mind.
Of course it’s always possible to pull off something so genius that no one sees it coming. And that is definitely something I’m not able to do. But it’s hard for me to know if my own ideas are really smart, really obvious or really dumb. Still, having a mystery go over the course of the entire series is enticing, but pulling one off requires a lot of thought and planning.
Being hard shouldn’t stop you from attempting it, though. Whatever happens, it’ll be a learning experience.