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Thread: Cliffhangers

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  1. #1
    DaBlaRR
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    Cliffhangers

    I have yet another question.

    When ending a chapter with a major cliffhanger, probably the biggest in the story. Is it good practice to start the next chapter where it left off?

    Normally I end a chapter because, it's just that, the perfect place to end a chapter. But then there is this one chapter, where a major event happens. To sum it up, someone get's shot, and I don't disclose which one of the possible parties in the setting were actually shot, then end it.

    I don't normally start the next chapter, right where I left off in the previous. The only reason I want to do it this time is cause for the cliffhanger effect.

    Alternatively, I could start a completely different scene, but I think this may piss the reader off.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Administrator Wickett's Avatar
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    If they've enjoyed the story up until then, it won't piss them off. It'll just further their curiosity. I'm assuming cliff hangers isn't something you do all the time, so it isn't like they're sick of it happening every other chapter.

    Would there be a way to start the next chapter with backstory that leads up to the shooting? I very much enjoy that kind of story flow. A major event which raises questions, and then immediate and sudden backstory that slowly leads up to it.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Gilfindel's Avatar
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    It rather depends on how you do it. If your cliffhanger is along the lines of "And the real killer is --", followed by "Meanwhile, back at the precinct ...", that's arbitrary and irritating. However, if the break in action flows naturally, where the previous chapter comes to a legitimate pause in the action and the subsequent chapter quickly demonstrates why it's necessary to the narrative, the reader will be willing to let the mystery hang unresolved until all is revealed in good time. The tension doesn't need to be released immediately, but don't wait too long ...

  4. #4
    DaBlaRR
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    Thanks guys.

    What do you think about starting the next chapter immediately at the scene where the cliffhanger chapter ended? Do you think that is too soon, and kind of defeats the purpose of the Chapter break?

  5. #5
    Senior Member Gilfindel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaBlaRR View Post
    What do you think about starting the next chapter immediately at the scene where the cliffhanger chapter ended? Do you think that is too soon, and kind of defeats the purpose of the Chapter break?
    I do it all the time. It gives the reader the opportunity to pause and speculate on what's about to happen before turning the page to see where the story actually goes. Barreling on past the climax without a break weakens the moment, I believe.

  6. #6
    Administrator Wickett's Avatar
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    With the possibility of people just reading right on through and rushing it, I wouldn't start the next chapter with all the answers, but that's just me.

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