First Chapter Endings

There is much to be said for a strong beginning to your first chapter. It keeps agents and editors wanting to read more. But what about the final words in that  initial chapter? Often times a writer will start out with a bang, only to lose the reader after the first few pages. How do you keep the interest going and have readers turning the page for chapter two? Here are six possible ways to end a chapter that may do the trick.

1. End with a cliffhanger. Have your protagonist in a don’t turn back perilous situation.

2. Add a new character trait that is so quirky, you have to read on.

3. Introduce a  mysterious or humorous character that demands more reading.

4. End with the scene moving toward a new setting.

5. Conclude the chapter with a dialog question that begs to be answered on the next page.

6. Set-up an action by a character; something that will move the plot forward and provide intrigue.

A less than satisfying ending to your first chapter won’t kill your story if the rest of the first chapter sparkled. A compelling storyline and interesting characters will always win out.  These chapter finishers will only make it stronger.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...writing middle grade novels.
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