I’ve been posting words for #1linewed on twitter for a while now. Do they help me sell books? Maybe. I have no idea, but once a week, Kiss of Death chooses a word that you’ve hopefully used in your WIP, and you can post that tiny section on twitter with the hashtag #1linewed. I think it’s fun to share them and see what other authors have shared. For example, for last Wednesday–the 5th–Kiss of Death posted: Something different for our 12/5/18
#1lineWed THEME. Give us your best end of chapter **CLIFFHANGER** line. Hooks make a reader turn pages so show us what you’ve got!
I have to admit, my wonderful critique partner, M.L. Rigdon, often catches mushy chapter endings in my manuscript and I have to beef them up, so the idea of LOOKING for cliffhangers worried me, especially in a first draft. But bless Scribes, they’ve expounded the idea of hooks at the end of chapters so many times, I did better than I thought. And they were easier to find than I’d first thought, too. I just printed FIND for my manuscript and typed in Chapter, and ta-da! I scrolled up to the end of the previous one and found my hooks pronto–something I should start doing on a regular basis when I polish my manuscripts. For the end of chapter 1 in The Body in Apartment 2D, (what I’m working on now), I found:
“Are you going to be okay?”
Radley shrugged. “You know Bain’s temper. He’ll stew and grumble, then get over it in a while.”
That’s when they heard a gunshot. They all looked at each other, then raced for the stairs.
Not too shabby. I posted it. But I was curious now. I looked at more of my chapter endings. For the end of chapter 2, I found:
Jazzi’s heart sank. She felt it shrivel and weep. Bain. Living with them. And he’d be in a worse mood than usual. But he was Ansel’s brother. They couldn’t just leave him on the streets. Could they? No. Shame on her. But she wasn’t looking forward to spending time with Ansel’s oldest brother.
Not brilliant, but it would do. At least for now.
Anyway, the whole exercise was a good reminder that EVERY chapter should end with some kind of hook, something to encourage the reader to turn the page. I hope all of your chapters end well:) I’m checking mine from now on.