Sunday, May 22, 2016

Writing Prompt: The Skill Builder: Leave ‘em Wanting More

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

This week’s prompt focuses on an exercise designed to work on a particular skill or technique, such as a POV exercise or character builder. Today’s skill: Scene and chapter endings.

A great scene ending makes the reader want to turn the page and keep reading. It leaves them hanging, eager to know what comes next. Without that carrot to lead them on, a story could lose momentum and a reader could lose interest.

Craft the last few lines (or paragraphs) of a scene or chapter using the following situations.

1. Someone discovers a nasty surprise.

2. Someone learns a secret.

3. Someone has to do something they don’t want to do.

4. Someone says or does something funny.

5. Someone has to wait to act.

Aim for providing enough information to tease readers into reading on, and to give the scene that “dum-dum-DUM!!!” excitement. You want people to need to know what happens next.

And readers…chime in on those who post today and say if you’d read on or not, and why.

Practical application: If you’re working on a draft right now, look at all your scene and chapter endings. Are they as strong as they could be? Are there any that could benefit from a little zing to tease readers into reading on?


  1. A bitter tang attacks my entire mouth, marrying with my doubt. My muscles flinch at his tone. His out-of-place words slither down my neck and his voice creates a poetic discourse through my bones. “Who was that man you were talking with earlier?”
    He’s caught off-guard. His mouth opens and he stares in a daze for a moment, “Just a tourist, asking for directions.”
    I wrap my hands inside his jacket and begin kissing him while searching for the paper I’d seen the stranger pass off. Alex’s kisses last a while, and my hand finally touches the black object of my curiosity.
    My heart sinks. An envelope with a waxed seal.

  2. This is way better then the advice of "Always end with a cliff hanger." Really? Always? Writers on Wattpad are weird. I refuse to force every chapter to end that way, ugg. Its got to end where it feels right. Your list helps a lot. I like to do: 1, 3, and 4. Now have two more for my "toolbox" thanks. ^.^