A few months ago my husband Jeff and I drove up to our local mountains for a fun day. On our drive back, we pulled over to take photos of the spectacular view.
What feelings do you get as you look at the photograph, standing on this side of the cliff, looking out over the vista.
Nice view, don’t you agree?
Now imagine what feelings you’d have if you were on the OTHER SIDE of that rock, hanging on for dear life so you wouldn’t fall down the cliff to the sheer drop thousands of feet below.
That’s the feeling we want our young readers to have at the end of each chapter we’ll be writing in our early chapter book. That’s why we want to be sure to include a cliffhanger at each chapter’s end.
When I wrote adventure stories for the early chapter book series, The Imagination Station, as I was working on my chapter-by-chapter summary to turn into editorial for approval, I brainstormed cliffhangers for each of my chapters. Since this was an adventure the cliffhangers were as dangerous and exciting as possible!
Here in our early chapter book, and in our mentor text Stink #1, our cliffhangers can be less “adventuresome” but still have that same feeling of, “I gotta turn the page to find out what happens!”
Technically, we can plug in a cliffhanger at any point when we’re working on our manuscripts, but I’ve found it helps to brainstorm ideas now as we’re preparing our chapter-by-chapter summary of where we want our book to go.
So if you’d like to give this a try, go ahead and add cliffhangers to the end of your chapters that you’re brainstorming right now!