1. jwatson
    Offline

    jwatson Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2009
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    canada

    Is this important?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by jwatson, Aug 9, 2009.

    While reading a few books, I sometimes get the sense that the way the author ends a few chapters could be done better. Is the way one ends a chapter important?
    Do literary agents pay attention to whether it is done smoothly or not?
    Thanks for reading :)
     
  2. arron89
    Offline

    arron89 Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2008
    Messages:
    2,460
    Likes Received:
    91
    Location:
    Auckland
    It would help if you gave examples...
     
  3. jonathan hernandez13
    Offline

    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 12, 2009
    Messages:
    5,040
    Likes Received:
    63
    Location:
    Mount Vernon New York
    IMO its healthy to end a chapter with a hook, it forces the reader to continue reading, and it gives you as a writer a reason to continue writing:)

    The reason I started doing it is because I saw it in the stuff I was reading (even comic books do it for Christ's sake). If the authors you are reading are not it's okay, sometimes they can get to be too much, and it's refreshing to end a chapter with a plesant sigh once and a while instead of a Sphincter clenching white knuckled cliffhanger.
     
  4. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    it certainly could be...

    they pay attention to anything that would or would not make the book a good read...
     
  5. jwatson
    Offline

    jwatson Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2009
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    canada
    gottit, thanks for the input
     
  6. marina
    Offline

    marina Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Messages:
    1,280
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Seattle
    Cliffhangers--some little, some big. If you're writing popular fiction, try to end each chapter with a cliffhanger. Some genres require it more than others.
     
  7. g1ng3rsnap9ed
    Offline

    g1ng3rsnap9ed Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Messages:
    204
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    A small town called Pox...
    I think it is, as well as the way an author begins a chapter. I'm really sentimental about stuff like that. Imo an author should set the mood of the chapter with the first sentence and/or paragraph, and should end it having the reader wanting for more.
     
  8. daturaonfire
    Offline

    daturaonfire Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2009
    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Nowhere
    I hadn't considered it before; I second g1ng3rsnap9ed--good beginnings set the tone. While a cliffhanger ending works, I think I would grow bored if every chapter ended that way--it would seem contrived, artificial. If you don't end on a cliffhanger, maybe end with a particulary powerful piece of imagery that lingers in the reader's mind, makes them want to pursue your characters.
     
  9. seta
    Offline

    seta Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Messages:
    299
    Likes Received:
    2
    For my writing, there are 2 things that can end a chapter -

    1) An emotional resolution - the end of an argument or resolution of a problem

    2) A logical shift - if you have people traveling from one place to another you don't need to detail every step along the way, only the interesting points. Point A can be one chapter and Point B can be another.
     
  10. Zybahn
    Offline

    Zybahn New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Canada
    Dave Ball, in his book on play writing Backwards & Forwards: A Technical Manual for Reading Plays, states that lines should lead into each other as though the opening is a gunshot & it is followed by a corpse. By the end of the play there should be corpses littering the stage. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

    With novels perhaps not every line but every paragraph or section, depending on the "type" of novel. If it's appropriate to end a chapter mid-sentence, then go for it. What is more important to me is the follow-up: end a scene or chapter with a gunshot by all means, but please follow it up with a corpse, or you'll simply have wasted a bullet, or aimed at your weapon at the reader. :)
     
  11. seta
    Offline

    seta Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Messages:
    299
    Likes Received:
    2
    A few of my more recent chapters have ended right when something dramatic happens - for instance an old mysterious character reappears unexpectedly.

    I ran the idea by my friend and she liked it because it creates tension and makes you want to read the next chapter.
     
  12. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    sorry, but i can't consider that good advice... see other posters' take on the subject above... there are many other reasons for ending a chapter and to do what you advise would make for a very poorly-written novel, imo...
     
  13. Kas
    Offline

    Kas Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    The ***hole of the world
    Some cliff hangers, carefully placed, can be great. It works especially well in stories with multiple points of view. It seems to me that good writing is a lot like grandma's kitchen sink soup. . on the surface, a little of everything, almost a mess. . but in truth, carefully selective, always utilising foods and spices, tastes and textures that go well together.

    Going to extremes, always doing one thing or another (unless it is following the basic rules of writing!) is probably inadvisable most of the time.
     
  14. essential life
    Offline

    essential life Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2009
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    I find that starting off with a "hook" is best because you have less to lose and more to gain by doing so.
     
  15. jwatson
    Offline

    jwatson Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2009
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    canada
    Well thanks for all the input ! ! :)
    I have not ended any of my chapters with a huge cliffhanger so far. Usually, I end it with some decent imagery and maybe an inkling of cliffhanger, though nothing too big. Thanks again for all of your comments :)
     
  16. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    that's true of the beginning of the novel, but again, not needed, or advisable for every chapter...
     

Share This Page