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Friday, October 30, 2015
When You Come to the End of a Chapter Jump Off the Cliff
An author must make many decisions in the course of writing a fiction novel. One very important choice is how the end of every chapter is handled. There should be a hook at the close of a chapter that intrigues the reader enough to turn the page. In other words, jump off the cliff. Most times, this suggestion should be handled figuratively, not literally, since too much tension might wear the reader out. Often, revealing a new secret or a new character will do the trick, deepening the crisis for the protagonist.
In my book, PATRIOT'S PRIDE, released in June of this year, the first chapter ends with the hero threatening to put the heroine in the brig. The second chapter ends with the hero wondering what new sickness has come over him. At the end of the third chapter, the heroine shows her mettle and takes over the care of an emotionally disturbed young woman despite the hero's warning. Nobody jumps off a cliff, but emotional leaps are perilous as well.
There's a wonderful blog post on the topic at The Editor's Blog that's worth reading. Jami Gold's post, Cliffhangers: Not Just for the End of a Book, offers good suggestions, too.
How about your book? How did you end the first, second, and the third chapters in your book? Tell me in a comment below and then give a link to the book.