Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Do You End With A Bang?

Whether you’re writing the end of a chapter or the end of a novel, you must take into account what the reader will take from that ending. Will it make an impact on him/her?

So let’s talk about chapters.

When you’re writing chapters, don’t lose focus of your writing. Some writers focus on where to insert the next break. Once you’ve written your first draft, you can come back and decide on a suspenseful scene or interesting point that’ll keep your reader wanting for more, a cliffhanger if you will.

You may start a new chapter when the story needs a shift in time, place, point of view, etc. By doing this, you’ll stimulate your reader’s mind. It can also refresh your reader’s eye after a long interval in one setting or situation. When you end a chapter, you’re also adding continuum and pacing; both of which are essential for balancing suspense to your story.

Be brave! Break your chapters in the heart of the action. I know, it’s a tease but it works. This will keep readers interested in the saga. Just remember one important aspect of this technique: don’t do it at the end of every chapter as this will definitely bore your readers. Do it for effect.

Now that you have these pointers, get going and finish/edit your chapters!


  1. Should all the chapters be relatively the same length, or some twice or three times as long,depending on where you're determining the break from your criteria? Does the reader need smaller bites?

  2. Hoooorah for these great tips on how to break one's chapters!!! Thank you lovely Claudia! Take care

  3. Hi Dan,
    Well, the length depends on need per chapter. Variety is key. It keeps the reader interested. You cannot keep track of words per chapter, just go with the flow. If a chapter calls for more action, more scenes, and more details then for sure it's going to be longer. Hope that answers your question ;)

    Hi Jennifer,
    You're a very welcome!

  4. I gotta say you're tapping into one of the very underrated issues in writing. Especially for novels. It becomes so heavy sometimes to go through with the long task and don't take care about the writing or the solidity of the scenes structure. Very good advice

  5. Hi Ben,
    So glad you found it informative. Yes, I've had problems with this issue, too. ;)

  6. Hi Mood,
    Thank you! Happy to hear you liked this advice.

  7. Often it's a matter of instinct. Sometimes it's a case of deliberate guile. The former is usually active when you're actually writing. The latter when editing.

  8. Once again, great post with excellent tips.
    As usual! That's why I want to award you with the Versatile Blogger Award:

  9. Hi Mike,
    Oh, that's a good one! Yes, instinct also plays a key role. Thanks for sharing your input on this topic.

    Hi Chris,
    You're so sweet. Thank you so much for passing on the Versatile Blogger Award to me ;)
    Your poems are beautiful and that's why you also got awarded ;)

  10. Thanks for the tips, Claudia. I find that the ending is one of the hardest parts of writing for me. I never know how to end.

  11. Hi Racquel,
    For me starting is the hardest part and once I get into it I can't stop. ;) Who would have thought that there are techniques for every part of your MS? The important thing is to keep writing, you can always ask someone to help you edit ;)

  12. I suppose you could think of it as breathing: you begin to increase your breathing as you read, until you almost feel as if you want to hold your breath... then break into your next chapter. Admittedly, if I were the reader in that heightened state, I'd most likely call the author a fatherless person, but it would be with that fanatical gleam in my eye that drives me onto ploughing through until I'm picking up that pace again.

    I was once told of a book, and this was back in the 80s, so my memory isn't all that good on title and author (being senile is a terrible thing), where one chapter consisted of a single word. No, please don't ask me to recall which word it was, you cruel, heartless people! Gah!

    But on a more sensible note - breaks within chapters? When, where, why and how often? :) <- smiling face so you can't resist answering.