Category Archives: Cliffhangers

The Trouble With Cliffhangers

I read somewhere the first sentence of a book invites you to read on and last climbing-157588_1280bsentence invites you to seek out more of the author’s work.

With this in mind, is a cliffhanger a good idea?

For me the answer is no.

I’m not against them completely.

Ending a chapter with a cliffhanger is great. The next page is in my hand and I can find out what happens immediately. There is no frustration or swearing—unless in amazement. At times like these I appreciate the device and gladly read on.

But leave me hanging on the last page of a book and the trust is gone. I’ve been betrayed and won’t dare get suckered in again. It occurred to me that all my drama was just my thing.

So I investigated.

I’m not alone. It turns out that some people don’t buy books if a review says it ends in a cliffhanger.

Let’s take a look at the different ending possibilities:


Just before the hero and the villain go toe to toe the book ends, leaving the reader without answers. Is it me, or did you also notice that anger is in cliffhanger.


In some series all loose ends are tied up but another question arises or foreshadows a future inciting incident, teasing the reader gently that there may be more. The reader can almost imagine what will happen next, comparable to a second date. Think anticipation. Now that’s fun.


Tie up all but one subplot, giving the reader enough info so they can choose the ending for themselves. Writers have been known to continue the story if fans or sales demand it. Using the open ending allows room for the imagination.


Most standalone books tie up all loose ends, even in a series. Think mystery or romance. In the next book, the cast shifts, letting another couple take the spotlight or the cast of characters move on to a new adventure.

Anyone out there enjoy a good cliffhanger? What’s your favorite type of ending?

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