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The Art of the Cliffhanger


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It is not a secret that the tried-and-true strategy of using cliffhangers at the end of your chapters or scenes is a surefire way to make a reader turn the page; in fact, it is one of the most effective ways. And why shouldn't it be? Life is a cliffhanger. In fact, Pops, in Secret Life of Pets went so far as saying "Every breath is a cliffhanger." No truer words have been said. Everyone everywhere albeit a car chase or a contentious meeting or even making a simple decision about what to eat can be a cliffhanger. It all depends on how you write it. However, what many authors fail to comprehend is that the cliffhanger conclusion is only one part of the puzzle.

The cliffhanger is the hook that gets the reader to flip the page. It's a lot like fishing. A writer casts the line with a lure and bait. but if you don't have a strong line to support reader across the gap and a sinker that pulls them deeply into the next scene or chapter, your reader likely to squirm free and swim away.

So how do we do that?

Your hook is the cliffhanger that occurs at the conclusion of each chapter, and the sinker is the first sentence of the next chapter. If done correctly, they will establish a connection for the reader, allowing her to flow easily from one point to the next as she moves through the text. Sounds easy, right?

In order to successfully make that link, you must first effectively structure the cliffhanger, and then you must firmly ground your reader in the scenario that comes after the cliffhanger. This implies that she needs to be oriented right away, and then she needs to be pulled down into the water like a sinker on a fishing line.

The scene that comes after a cliffhanger will either be situated in a new time or place, or it will switch to the point of view of a different character. It is essential that you immerse your reader in the new circumstance from the very beginning of your piece, in the very first paragraph.

The most effective way to accomplish this is to rapidly develop point of view while making use  details, details and more details!

For more information: https://algonkianconferences.com/authorconnect/index.php?/topic/20574-the-art-of-the-cliffhanger/#comment-28819

 

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