Each week, I’ll offer a tip you can take and apply to your WIP to help improve it. They’ll be easy to do and shouldn’t take long, so they’ll be tips you can do without taking up your Sunday. Though I do reserve the right to offer a good tip now and then that will take longer—but only because it would apply to the entire manuscript.
This week, check how you end each scene and/or chapter and make sure you’re giving readers a reason to turn the page.
A scene break or chapter ending is a natural place for readers to put down a book, and sometimes we write it that way without considering the downsides. Characters go to sleep, they leave for a journey, they settle in to wait—they at in ways that say “pause the story here” in some way.
But when we end a scene with something that must be known—readers keep on reading. Readers who can’t put a book down even when the scene is over or the chapter has ended are ones who are going to rave about your book the next day (while yawning from lack of sleep).
Look at the ending of your scenes and chapters. Do they end with something to keep readers reading? Not just the last line, but the situation or need in the novel itself? Is there something going on readers want to see? Need to know? Must read the outcome for?
If not, tweak, trim, or shift so the break happens in a spot readers won’t be able to stop on.
For more on handling scene endings in your novel, try these articles:
- And...End Scene: When to Add a Scene Break
- Tips on Writing Scene and Chapter Transitions
- Writing Transitions: How to Move Smoothly Through Your Novel
- Make it Stick – The Art of the Chapter Ending
- Writing Great Endings -- And Not Just the Big One
- Don’t Know How to End Your Scene? Here’s Why.
- Follow the Leader: Moving From Scene to Scene