Writing Tip – Hooks and Cliff Hangers

3D rendering of a bookworm Bill character sitting on a fishing hook reading a book.

Want to keep a reader interested in your book?  The first thing you need is a good hook.  You want to draw that reader in with something edgy within the first few paragraphs, but at the very least the first page.  Readers get bored with page after page of back story so it is important to write something that grabs their attention and keeps it throughout the book.

Having said that, the one mistake to avoid here is having a hook just to have a hook.  Make sure it is important to the rest of your story or your readers will jump off the train before you ever roll out of the station.  You don’t want them to get to the middle of your book and say, “what the…?”

Silhouette illustration of a man figure hanging on the cliff

Once you’ve hooked them, you want to reel them in for the rest of the reading journey.  The way I accomplish this is through cliff hangers.  I try to end every chapter leaving the reader wanting more.  One last sentence that just dares a reader to keep going.  Fortunately, I believe I accomplished that with both books in the In Lies Series as people have told me over and over again that they just couldn’t put those books down.  On one hand that’s great, on the other hand they finish it too quickly.  Oh well, you can’t have everything.  Here’s an example from Blood Harvest Moon, a paranormal romance I’ve written:

Derek turned, looking at Shaelyn for the last time. His heart twisted and tears sprang to his eyes, but he just wasn’t ready for this. He just wasn’t. He fled for the stairs.

Try using some cliff hangers, and ask your beta group how well they work.  Or if you want to post some here perhaps my readers will give you some feedback.

Let me know how it works for you.

About Kelly Abell

I am a writer, blogger, and graphic artist. My aim for you is to utilize this blog to help you improve your writing skills, and to educate you on the publishing business. If you need help with writing, want to self-publish a book and need advice, or just want to kick a story idea around to see what works best, that's what I'm here for. As I gain knowledge from editors and publishers, I will share that knowledge with you. As writers we should always strive to improve our craft and grow. A day should not pass where you haven't learned or tried something new with your writing. Many thanks to my Night Owl Friend, Lea Ellen Borg for editing my posts! Best to you and all your characters and stories. Write on, my friends...Write on.
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2 Responses to Writing Tip – Hooks and Cliff Hangers

  1. R&M hepner says:

    Kelly, yes, hook the reader before he can blink an eye. Majority of my chapters conclude with a scene that the reader can hardly wait to begin the next chapter.

    Best regards, Ron


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