Lessons from a writer: What about those cliffhangers?
What do you think about stories that end with cliffhangers?
Cliffhangers are great as long as you are planning on continuing the story and telling your readers what happens next. I’m not a fan of authors who write cliffhangers and then tell you to use your imagination to figure out what happened. I think it’s cheap writing, but that’s just my opinion. -Steven Guglich
I have a serious love/hate relationship with cliffhangers. I think they need to be done right and done well in order to work without frustrating the reader. In individual chapters, they’re great, they’re perfect, they keep the reader turning the page. But if someone plans on ending their entire story/novel with a cliffhanger, I’d ask them what exactly it is they want to leave hanging. I hate when it’s an exciting moment, everything has come together, the conflict is set, the climax is about to happen, and then . . . the end. No, no, no. That’s frustrating. I hate that. But if done right, the author can resolve the conflict, tie up the main storyline and satisfy the readers for the most part but leave a few strings hanging. Just enough to make the reader wonder what happens next, perhaps in a different conflict. The good guy banishes the ultimate evil, the world is saved, but when he walks away, his eyes flash with the fires of hell and the reader wonders . . . is the evil truly banished or has it planted its seed in the good guy? That is a great type of cliffhanger. -Crystal MM Burton
It depends. I personally find lack of resolution highly annoying. If you give me a cliffhanger, but the clues to answer it are all in the story, that’s different. -Tim Munnerlyn
I could rant for the next fifty pages as to why this is a huge annoyance, not just in writing but also in media in general. But for the sake of brevity, let me just say that I can see their uses; however, when you build up a world and leave the viewer or reader high and dry without knowing its end, it’s just so much wasted time all that excitement flips to complete contempt. -Jack Pewitt
Personally, I like cliffhangers. It makes me want to continue the story (if there is a sequel). Even if there isn’t a continuation, it leaves the imagination open for such things. Good cliffhangers are great things. They make the reader want to know more. I feel it sets it up for the second in a series. But if not part of a series? Then sometimes cliffhangers aren’t necessary. Just a good ending. -Charlotte Munro
Want to know more about this week’s panel?
I am a stay-at-home mother and wife who spends my free time baking, crafting, and fangirling. I work from home as an author and freelance editor, and my positive outlook has gotten me to where I am today.
I am a writer of fantasy and science fiction. I’m working on my first fantasy series called “The Veil Saga.” My goal is to have it ready for print by the fall of 2017. To find out more about me and The Veil Saga, you can check out my website.
I’m currently trying my hand at writing fanfiction. I’m a big fan of drama and suspense, as well as comedy. Haven’t read many published works but I read other fanfiction rather frequently.
I’m a horror, paranormal, and fantasy writer with a tendency for darker things. I live in a little sunshine town in England but am often found traversing the dark forests and woodlands, scouting for ideas. I’ve had three books published and am working on my next few as an indie author.
I’m a fantasy, adventure, and horror writer from Texas. I’ve been a member of Authors’ Tale for roughly a year. I have a background in design and a passion for classical art.