Thursday, May 12, 2011


Have you ever wondered how to end your chapters as you’re writing your story? Although I wouldn’t want a cliffhanger after the end of every chapter, I do want the reader to keep reading on to the next one.

Wikipedia describes cliffhangers this way:  a cliffhanger or cliffhanger ending is a plot device in fiction which features a main character in a precarious or difficult dilemma, or confronted with a shocking revelation at the end of an episode of serialized fiction. A cliffhanger is hoped to ensure the audience will return to see how the characters resolve the dilemma.”

More definition: “The phrase is believed to come from the end-of-episode situation in adventure silent films of the early 1900s days, with the protagonist literally left hanging from the edge of a cliff, although the oldest usage the Oxford English Dictionary has is from 1937. Some serials end with the caveat "To Be Continued..." or "The End?"

Rio Grande Valley

I learned more about chapter structure when I went to the blog mentioned below. If you have any questions on this, I recommend you go to Aaron Elkin’s Writer’s Digest blog on this topic, 3Ways to Know When to End Your Chapters. He mentions that “chapter breaks lend continuity and pacing—both of which are essential for balancing suspense—to your story.” 

"Does your story contain character conflict, change, and growth? If you are just relating a series of events that involve one or more characters, your story is likely underdeveloped." -- Writer's Tip from Writer's Digest Weekly Planner

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