It’s the one writing trick we love to hate—the cliffhanger. They can be totally frustrating to readers sometimes, especially if a book concludes with one and we have to wait a year for the next book in the series to come out, but who doesn’t love a good cliffhanger?
It’s a way to keep your readers fully engrossed in your story so they’ll keep reading late into the night! We’ve got some tips to help you write the perfect cliffhanger scenes that will provide your readers with those OMG moments they can’t believe just happened!
Placement is important. When it comes to a good cliffhanger, where it is in your book is crucial to the impact it has on readers. The best place for a cliffhanger to appear is at end of the chapter. This way, your readers will want to keep going to see what happens next and it just provides for a more thrilling conclusion to a chapter!
Keep it reasonable. An important element to remember when thinking of your cliffhangers is that it should make sense and not come across as a cheap trick you’re just throwing in your book. The whole point of a cliffhanger is to entice your readers, not make them want to put the book down! Use them effectively during key parts of your story to keep the momentum going.
Look at examples to see how it’s done right. The best way to get a sense of how to write a good cliffhanger is to do some research! Look to your favorite books that use them correctly—The Hunger Games immediately comes to mind—and even your favorite TV shows and movies! The Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars TV shows both do a great job of ending their episodes with cliffhangers.
Get straight to the point. A cliffhanger isn’t supposed to be drawn out—it should just hit the reader quickly and be resolved within the first few pages afterward. A good example is to end a chapter with one of your characters making a startling confession that is immediately addressed in the next chapter.
Another effective cliffhanger is to end an intense fight scene so that readers are unsure as to whether or not their favorite character has survived. Just make sure to give them the answer within the next chapter!
Think about what you would want to read. If you’re unsure as to whether or not your cliffhangers will have the desired effect, just read it as if you’re not the author but just someone enjoying the book! If you don’t think they’re flowing in certain parts of your story then it’s totally fine to take them out! Or if you think your book needs more of them, then add some in!