Monday, July 09, 2012

Monday Mystery -Cliff-Hanger

This is my favorite part to write in a mystery or any book.

A cliff-hanger is a writing device that's used to keep the suspense going in a scene.

Television uses cliff-hangers all the time, in soap operas and television shows. The drama/cop shows have cliff hangers before commercials and always leave you wanting more at the season finale of most shows.

The best cliff-hangers leave the character in peril or on the edge of a decision that should they make the wrong choice could put them in danger or harm a relationship.

Types of Cliff-hangers

1) Leaving off in the middle of a scene creates a cliff-hanger.

Rocks clattered and rumbled.She glanced over her shoulder. Wade tumbled down the cliff behind her.
 LOL this example actually has a cliff in it. ;0) 

2) A not so effectual cliff-hanger is an unanswered question either by a character or, in a novel, by the narrator.

He had overlooked her being a Nimiipuu but could he understand her being a spirit?

3) The next best cliff-hanger is the brooding character.

He had to talk to the soldiers. Between them they had to stop the killing.

The best cliff-hanger is leaving your characters in peril.And to make a reader keep reading and not stop when they come to the end of a chapter, always use a cliff-hanger at the end of every chapter whether it's a mystery or any novel. But don't use the same  method on every chapter. Mix it up and keep the reader reading. 

*Examples are from my book Spirit of the Sky.


danita cahill said...

Great post, Paty. And good examples. I love using cliff hangers. I also try to use one at the end of every chapter - promising the reader more adventure, more love, more mysteries unraveled, if they will just postpone turning out the light and keep on reading.

Paty Jager said...

Thanks Danita! Cliff hangers are a writers best friend.