|Helpful for climbers AND readers.|
Almost a sure-fire was to incite strong emotions in a reader; it worked well for Scheherazade, no? Yet sometimes, the mere prospect of such an element will cause a person to avoid reading a book in the first place (or perhaps wait for the story's resolution to be revealed.A cliffhanger or cliffhanger ending is a plot device in fiction which features a main character in a precarious or difficult dilemma, or confronted with a shocking revelation at the end of an episode of serialized fiction. A cliffhanger is hoped to ensure the audience will return to see how the characters resolve the dilemma.
Anyone who enjoys serialized material will have inevitably come across a number of cliffhangers. One would also notice the many possible reasons for their incorporation into a story. Like for instance...
...because a main plot line has been wrapped up, but side plots (or maybe a second main thread) must be connected to the following title.And so it goes on and on. Personally, I don't mind a good cliffhanger (though I'm not overly crazy about the gimmicky, blatant marketing ploys...I'm looking at you Stephanie Plum book #5). Sure it's devastating at first, but with a bit of time (and the next few unrelated books) the anxiety of "needing to know" settles into a softer form of excitement and anticipation. That said, if the follow-up book is immediately avaiable...we'll let's just say I'd prefer to buy 'em as a pair. And if it's possible to have a general heads up on a cliffhanger ending, I'm a happy camper.
...strictly to ensure a reader will buy the follow-up book. A pessimistic possibility, but I'm sure there are books out there that have employed the device for this reason. I'm not such a big fan of this type, because the resolution is often resolved with the first few pages of the next installment, sometimes even undoing the cliffhanger in the first place.
...to "change the game." If a drastic change is going to occur, one that will affect future books (or even the series as a whole), the end of one installment is not a bad place to put it. In my opinion, these can actually be quite fun!
So, how about you? Do cliffhangers usually excite or frustrate you (and are there specific circumstances in which you like/don't like them)? Do you like to know ahead of time if the book you're thinking of reading has one?