Using Cliffhangers and Foreshadowing 


I wrote the above comment as a response to an Instagram post I saw some time ago, asking how a writer knows where to start the next chapter. I was surprised by how much of a reaction it got. It seemed a lot of people hadn’t considered this fairly simple technique. So how is it done? 

Firstly, by cliffhanger, I don’t mean that your protagonist has to be on the verge of untimely death every time you end a chapter. A cliffhanger can be as simple as leaving an unresolved question. For example: 

“You wouldn’t really leave me, would you?”

 End of chapter. 

His last words echoed in Alice’s mind as she drove away. ‘Would you?’ Well, they both knew the answer to that now. 

See how much better that is than ending the chapter with Alice driving away! 

Another useful method to achieve the same effect is foreshadowing. This is when we give a little glimpse of what’s going to happen in order to heighten the tension. So: 

“Don’t worry,” I said. “We’ll just go in, grab it, and run out. It will be perfectly simple.”

But of course, it was nothing of the sort. 

End of chapter

Not only are these useful writing tools, they create a book that flows from chapter to chapter, keeping the reader gripped. 
What do you think of these methods? Do you use them? 

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