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Ending With a Cliffhanger

When you get to the end of your story, you need to write a fantastic conclusion. A conclusion in a nonfiction piece will sum up the main ideas and tie everything together. In a fiction piece, the conclusion will bring everything to a close and leave the reader with a complete story. However, one option you have as a writer is to write a conclusion that leaves the reader wondering what happens next. This is called a cliffhanger.

You know cliffhangers from television shows. At the end of a season, there is usually a dramatic scene that leaves viewers on the edge of their seats, wondering what will happen next. You might want to end your story the same way. If you plan to continue your story, or if you are writing a chapter, a cliffhanger is a great way to end it. You can use this technique even if you don’t plan to continue your story, but be careful not to make the reader feel cheated because he didn’t get a complete story.

Cliffhangers can be descriptive scenes, dialogue, or even questions. A cliffhanger builds tension and anticipation. Here’s an example of a last line that would leave the reader wondering what happened next. He had finally found her after all these years. With shaky hands, he stood in front of her door, and then he knocked.

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