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Young Writers Society
Sun Sep 02, 2007 4:49 am
A cliffhanger is basically a story that ends (or stops) in an abrupt manner. It came after that absolutely wonderful plot twist where our main character is hanging off a cliff, struggling for his life. Will he make it??? Check out the next episode! It creates tension, makes the readers anxious, and drives them to read more while making the story deeper.
Cliffhangers can be many things. If a wild boar is chasing after me, I trip, and the chapter ends, that is a cliffhanger. It doesn't have to do with cliffs at all.
There are two different types of cliffhangers. The first is the dramatic, the second is the subtle. Both of these can be used as great effects for the ends of chapters, poems, or short stories.
The dramatic cliffhanger is one that stops abruptly on a dangerous, alarming note. For example, say, to use a clichéd example, our hero is climbing up a cliff, and then suddenly falls. The chapter ends. The next thing that comes in the reader's mind is, "What will happen next??" They turn the page eagerly.
Note the drama and tension. Something bad will happen, and that makes the conflict that more real. Because this is such a dramatic effect, it probably shouldn't be used too often.
Now, the subtle cliffhanger is a little different. It ends in a disturbing note. Using our example again, our hero would be climbing up the cliff. Suddenly he slips and almost falls, except he grabs a large rock on time. He is saved... or is he? The next thing that comes into your reader's mind is, "What might happen next?
Note the anxiety. Something bad might happen, and that makes the conflict more real. Some consider this not to be a real cliffhanger, but it is and it can be used frequently as a startling effect.
Ubi caritas est vera, Deus ibi est.
"The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls the butterfly." ~ Richard Bach
Moth and Myth
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Sat Apr 12, 2008 7:54 pm
Thank you very much for the cliffhanger article. I've been having trouble, but your article helped me out. Thanks again!
And we'll be a dream...
"Dee Dubbleyou." - BigBadBear
Sun Aug 10, 2008 11:09 am
I really been thinking how to write a cliff hanger and "volla".Here is a tip showing me showing me exactly how to do it.
Thank you so much.
Cheat your landlord if you can and must, but do not try to shortchange the Muse. It cannot be done. You can’t fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal.
— William S. Burroughs
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