Cliff hangers are the reason I have trust issues, especially in Kdramas.
Kdramas have approximately 0% chill when it comes to episode endings. They will make you watch an entire episode and think that the question you had been asking was answered, but when the end comes you have a whole new set of questions that need an answer.
So I was thinking how I could do that for my stories? Why should I do it?
The latter can be answered easily. People will come back for more when they are curious. That is why, whenever there is a cliff hanger, we come back for more. No matter how annoyed we are at the characters for being stupid.
The first question is the tricky one. It leads to another bunch of questions that need answers. Like, how many words will make the chapter too long? Would killing someone be too much in the third chapter? How about stabbing someone in the back?
Really, thinking about ways to make the readers come back for more is not an easy task. But I somehow managed to succeed (barely).
Whether the chapter is long or short, it is okay. Unlike Kdramas, I am not writing episodes, but chapters for my book. Story writing and script writing do not follow the same concept, lengthwise. As long as the writer is satisfied, then the story will go one.
Making the cliff hanger great, is another thing. I figured out that trying too hard was what was killing me. So instead, I just wrote as much as I could in the chapter and then chose one random scene, usually the most dramatic one and cut it in half.
For a moment, let’s imagine Star Wars. I’ve only watched it once, but it still made quite the impact on me. This is the scene where Darth Vader tell Luke that he is his father. So they are talking / fighting. It is heated. Then He says, “I your father.” Then the episode ends.
Think about it for like a second. I was watching Star Wars and when that happened, I was shook. I did not expect it (actually I did since that misquote has been quoted by everyone). No one expects that and when it does happen, they might feel angry, sad, but also curious. They would want to know Luke’s reaction.
Did he go to his father’s side and embraced the dark side? Or did he slay his father, ignoring the fact that he had been wondering about him for so long? What was his mother thinking?
All of the questions would be going through the viewer’s minds, making them curious and craving for more. Which is why a cliff hanger should be put to good use.
If you find it impossible to make the ending work, then don’t try too hard. Don’t put a cliff hanger, it won’t make your story any bad.