Your readers must never feel too comfortable in the world of your book. Period. They aren’t reading to relax. What readers are looking for is excitement, thrills, and mystery, no matter what genre we’re talking about—I suspect that you already know this. So, how to keep them biting their nails as they turn the pages? Use cliffhangers. It’s as simple as that, but it can be hard to put into practice. Let me guide you through the world of these giddy creatures.
WARNING! Numerous fancy graphics ahead! Please share! 🙂
And that’s be it—as simple as that. I hope cliffhangers seem more understandable to you now, and with a little help from my graphics you’ll be able to pick one that suits your current needs. Print the graphics out if you want, develop it further, highlight your favorite cliffhangers—feel free to use the charts any way you wish.
And now a small challenge. Below you’ll find a couple of quotes from a new book that I’ve just finished. This is the first book I’m genuinely happy about (should I see a mental health professional?) and if my editor shares my opinion, I’ll release it in a month or two (I’ll keep you posted). Anyway: try to connect a given cliffhanger with one of the types mentioned above. Let me know how did you do!
“Goodbye.” Amos bowed slightly.
“Fucker!” Tomas slammed the door so fiercely that Amos was surprised it didn’t shatter into splinters.
“Mold, ramaria, yeast, horseradish. Not really sexy names I’d say.” He grabbed a piece of paper and a pencil. Quickly, he put down the names in his unreadable letters—he rarely wrote. “An m, an r, a y and an h,” Once upon a time Tomas had loved scrabble, crosswords, and anagrams. “It’s easy!” he chuckled. “Your name, darling, will be MARYAH.”
“Cara!” he cried out. “Cara!”
“Yes, hon?” She ran toward him and put her arms around his waist. He pushed her gently away.
“We have to go,” he snapped. “Urgent family matters!” He ran up the stairs of the cottage and started to pack his bags so they could leave Los Angeles as soon as possible.
“Safety. Yes, VitaGen can be very dangerous, believe me. You have to find a way to make them back off. By any means. Blackmail?” he suggested.
“Oh, come on! That’s not necessary.” Tomas waved his hand. His face went stiff again, and Miran realized the man was ethical, moral, and fair, and believed the rest of the world was the same way. Pathetic.
“Maybe,” Miran said. He didn’t believe they would get away with MARYAH. VitaGen would want to reclaim its property and punish them. But Tomas couldn’t quite believe it. He thought that, after short clash with his manager, he’d be free. No way, my friend, Miran laughed under his breath. You’ll see what these skunks are capable of yourself and then come back to me on your knees.
“And remember one thing.” Amos cocked his head to the right and looked Tomas in the eye. “MARYAH is ours. It belongs to VitaGen. Don’t even think of doing anything stupid. If you forget who owns MARYAH, you’ll land in some very deep shit. Got it?” he snapped. Tomas just nodded. Everything was clear. And back to normal.
“Five o’clock. At the Carman’s.” Tomas was familiar with the cozy restaurant, with its multiple lounges—it was a spot where the most prominent politicians and businessmen met. And now I’m going there with MARYAH. I’m sure we’ll have a great time, despite Friday and Aurora’s rage!
He laughed under his breath, but nodded.
“I’ll be there right on time—with the necessary data,” he promised. Miran smiled.
“Good. So, see you?” He saluted and walked away.
When Aurora got up she found fresh coffee in the coffee maker and a short note from Tomas. I’m sorry, help yourself. She crumpled it in her hand and tossed behind her in a fury.