aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

Flat chapter endings

I’m a firm believer that the end of a chapter should entice you to stay up past your bedtime and read on.

I just finished World Made By Hand , and while I generally liked it, I did not get emotionally invested in it. The book is set in the near future, after two bombs and a series of deadly epidemics have reduced the world to basically what you can walk to.

One reason it didn’t engage me might have been the many flat chapter endings.

Some good chapter endings he had were:
- “My heart flew into my throat.” [After hearing three shots.]
- “As I pulled the cart away from the general, all I could think about was whether they would eat the dog.”

But the author had many more like this:
- “I suppose that was what she used to tell her kids back in school.”
- “Tell them eight o’clock at the old town hall upstairs.” [The main character has called a meeting.]
- “Dale Murray seemed to grasp that the jokes would continue at his expense, so he cut his losses and called the meeting to order.”
- “By then, the true darkness of night was creeping over town and stealing into the third floor of the old town hall, and since nobody had brought any candles, I moved to adjourn the meetings.”
- “Then it was a final dram, and we tucked ourselves into our bedrolls in nice cool sleeping weather, for a change, and fell out rather quickly from our day’s emotions.”

I believe a book is more enticing when a chapter ends on a note of drama, rather than summing up what has just taken place.

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