How to use Cliff-hangers in fiction.
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How to use Cliff-hangers in fiction.

How to use Cliff-hangers in fiction.


The cliff-hanger is a wonderful literary device both for the author and the reader. Although, some readers hate cliff-hangers, for others means the story will continue or does it? This technique is used often on series. Also, thrillers end with a cliff-hanger to add shock or disbelief at the end of a story.


So how to use cliff-hangers in fiction?

Get people hopes up means getting the reader to turn pages.


Getting readers to turn pages is not easy, but ending a chapter with a cliff-hanger can make them do so. You-the writer has one goal, and that is to move the story forward. This leaves the readers in suspense that something is going to happen or some serious character growth is installed as the story progresses. It’s all about creating stakes.

Play with the readers’ feelings


Now that you established the stakes the game begins. Your readers are clever they can easily predict where the story is going. So, make them think they have it all figured out and then you hit them with the surprise.




Leave stones unturned


Think of chapters as meals and there should be enough for the readers to taste but not to leave them full and satisfied. Answer a few of their questions, give them closure but leave a few things out.



How to use Cliff-hangers in fiction.



How to use Cliff-hangers in fiction: Less is more.


A cliff-hanger is not all about life and death. It’s tempting to end your chapter with a plot twist or some major reveal but doing this in each chapter can be tiresome for you and the reader. It’s more powerful to make changes to what we care about, the characters and their relationships. The more you make the reader care, the more you keep them on the edge of their seats and keep on reading.


Happy writing and reading xx


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