aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

Setting the hook

I think one of the best things a novelist can do is to end every chapter with a cliffhanger. This works in all types of novels, but esp. in mysteries and thrillers. Here are some examples from One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson, due out this fall.

- And then the man with the baseball bat stepped out of the Honda.
- Jackson watched in mute, paralyzed horror as the dog leaped in the air toward him.
- His last thoughts were about his obituary. Who would write it. Would it be good?
- In the end, Martin didn't mention the gun, he could see it might be considered a detail too far.
- The girl leaned closer to him over the desk, and, giving Jackson a predatory kind of smile, said, "What kind of agency would you like us to be?"
- Gloria gave a little scream of horror and said, "I thought you were dead!"
- He dialed the number and, when it was answered, said, "Mr. Brodie? I don't know if you remember me?"
- "A deal?" Gloria said. "What kind of deal?"

Because she has six or seven viewpoint characters, she can set a number of hooks to keep you reading, wondering what is happening with Gloria or Jackson or Martin as you read about someone else and wait for the next thing to be revealed. Even in a non-mystery, you could end a chapter with someone opening a door or a letter.

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Tags: cliffhangers, kate atkinson
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