Cliffhanger Chapter Endings

Discussion in 'Writing Resources' started by Aurora, Jul 13, 2017.

  1. Aurora

    Aurora Mystagogue

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    Hi. Cliffhangers are something I've been working on a lot lately and found this article useful. I hope it's helpful to another Scribe here. How To Write Cliffhanger Chapter Endings.



    *As a side note, something changes. This is the way I've come to remember cliffhangers. Even something as small and subtle as the character noticing/learning/understanding something. Tension is key here.*
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
  2. Rkcapps

    Rkcapps Mystagogue

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    Brilliant read, thanks for sharing Aurora. I always thought GRRM the king of cliffhangers but I bet they're heaps of authors :)
     
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  3. Aurora

    Aurora Mystagogue

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    You're welcome!
     
  4. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    This got me thinking.
    I've had the thought that perhaps I should end some of the stories in my series on a cliffhanger. It now seems like a pretty obvious choice to try and do that for all of them in one way or another. Similarly, I'll try and put in cliffhangers of some sort at the end of every chapter.

    I'm thinking a good part of the advice here is that a cliffhanger doesn't have to be overly dramatic - it just has to raise some kind of question, and it needn't be a life-or-death kind of question. This isn't so much a "new" trick, but a different way of thinking about something I technically already knew, and once again it's helped me improve my understanding of the craft a little bit. :)
     
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  5. Aurora

    Aurora Mystagogue

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    Svrtnsse, I'm glad it could help! Cliffhangers, I've found, are just as important for the reader as it is for the author. If I don't end the chapter or scene on a note that has me excited to write the next day, then how will it be for the reader? Everyone wins, you see.
     
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  6. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Dark Lord

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    Totally agree. I think the term cliffhanger gets a bad rap because it tends to elicit images of melodrama such as... the Fonz jumping sharks and the episode ending, heh heh. Subtle questions of some sort at the end of chapters should be a staple. Endings should feel natural, while pulling the reader forward.

    I must admit, however, that this scene from Happy Days did a wonderful thing for society by giving us the phrase "jumping the shark" which I love, LOL.

     
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  7. Aurora

    Aurora Mystagogue

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    It doesn't have to be action, most certainly!

    For example, in my WIP, hero is falling in love with an assassin. Of course, he doesn't know she's one. But a slip of the tongue on her end during a conversation raises an alarm in his head. And that brings the chapter to a close. It's little things like this that I'm learning to bring in in order to create further tension. Less is more sometimes, if that makes sense.
     
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