Monday, January 17, 2011

Chapter Endings

I've been avoiding watching True Blood for a while, saying to myself, "I need a break from vampires." I finally gave in, drank the Kool-aid, and have become obsessed. My hubby and I watched eight hours of it yesterday. Eight hours!

There are so many things that make it great: the premise, the mystery, the dialogue, the multi-dimensional characters, but there's one thing in particular that kept us going from one episode to the next...the endings.

We'd start a new one and say, "Okay, this will be our last." Then at the end, the characters were left in such dire circumstances we had to find out what happened next. Do they live? Do they die? Will vampire Bill be able to save Sookie yet again? We finally had to quit so we could go to bed, but I'm sitting here at work, counting down the hours to another episode.

Even though I spent my entire Sunday on the sofa, it wasn't a complete waste of time. It made me think about how I could incorporate this ploy into my own work and because of it, I thought of a few high-strung places where I could cut to a new chapter and keep people reading.

The Hunger Games is another example of great chapter endings. Prim's name is called for the reaping and BAM! End chapter. If you can close the book there, you have stronger willpower than I do.

I haven't read the Sookie Stackhouse books yet but they are on my list (along with about 20 others) I want to see if Charlaine Harris employed the same chapter endings in her writing. What about you? What books have you read that left you wanting more chapter after chapter?

1 comment:

Brigid Kemmerer said...

On Mary Kole's blog, she talked about chapter endings (and beginnings) as being prime real estate. That's where things *really* matter. That always sat with me. I try to end every chapter on a cliffhanger.

Books I couldn't put down because of good chapter endings.... Hmm.

Living Dead Girl, Hearts at Stake, the Simone Elkeles Perfect Chemistry novels, anything by Sophie Kinsella.