Keeping The Reader Hanging On A Cliff

Keeping The Reader Hanging  On A Cliff

iStock_000010511554Small-150x150I like a happy or sad ending.  The key word is ending.  A story with a cliff hanger is not ending. That’s what we expect at the end of chapters. It gets us to turn the pages. Today, the new adult novels and some 50 Shades knockoffs tend to be strung out over three books or even in serials with cliff hangers between books. The story goes on and on like the energizer bunny with no definitive end. Many are like the old movie serials from childhood where you had to come back the next week to see if the truck went over the cliff.  This seems to be a requirement in a series.

Reasons I Don’t Like Books With Cliff Hangers

  • Story problem  is not resolved. The story just stops and you’re left saying to yourself “Whaaat?”
  • An ending is the reader’s reward; without this I feel cheated.
  • I read a novel in a day, so if the book is one of a series and it comes out months from the first one,  it probably won’t be a book I buy. I will have forgotten the story.
  • Books with cliff hangers are like having the last chapter torn from a book. But in the case of a series with cliffhangers it happens more than once.
  • A series using cliff hangers comes across as a marketing gimmick to get readers to purchase future books or at least the book with the end of the story.
  • Writing a series with different characters in each book and ending the story so that each book stands alone are books that I like to read.


Do you have issues with cliff hangers in a series? 


3 thoughts on “Keeping The Reader Hanging On A Cliff

  1. I’m okay with it as long as I already have the next book in the series. I don’t like to wait and I feel that each book should be able to stand alone on its own merits.


  2. Personally, if someone is going to string the story out into several books before resolving the story question, I’m not going to buy the first book. I hate those books.


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