Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Q is for Question at Chapter's End

I'm pleased to have come up with something for Q! So, Q is for a Question at Chapter's End. In other words, leaving something up in the air at the end of the chapter, something that leaves the reader wanting to know the answer. Sounds good, right?

If you watch soaps, you'll see they do this at the end of virtually every scene. For example, here are three ways to end a chapter or scene:

1) "Will you marry me?" John asked Denise.

"Yes!" said Denise.

2) "Will you marry me?" John asked Denise.

3) John had a question to ask Denise.

Version #1 works only if it's the end of the book. After all, since Denise said "Yes," there's no suspense. No reason to keep reading.

Version #3 doesn't work because it's too general. We have no idea what he's going to ask, so there's no real interest in whatever her answer is.

Version #2 works the best. John has asked the question, and not yet received an answer. We'll want to keep reading to find out if she says "Yes" or "No."

Today's Tarot deck is the Ghost Tarot. Here are a couple of sample cards from the deck.



Images courtesy of Aeclectic Tarot

I asked what kind of question for a chapter's end would be most likely to keep the reader reading. The card I drew was the 6 of Pentacles. And luckily enough, Aeclectic Tarot has a picture of that card:


This card indicates a painful separation, loss of a loved one, remembering a happier time. I'd interpret this to mean the man and woman in my romance novel have broken up and are both facing loneliness but don't know how to win the other back. I'd leave the question hanging of, will they find a way to get back together, or not?


Liz Brownlee said...

The advice to have suspense at the end of a chapter or spread even works for picture books! ~Liz

Elizabeth Delisi said...

Yes, definitely! It's a good way to keep the reader reading for any type of book.