This week’s video talks about a simple technique you can use to encourage readers to keep turning your final pages deep into the wee hours of the morning.
Video Transcript: The ends of our novels are make or break territory for our readers. If we’ve convinced them to keep reading this far, we had better have something extra special in store for them come the end. If we disappoint a reader in our story’s climax, we’ve not only failed in our most important job as authors, we’ve also likely lost that reader for life. So how do we dazzle them in that last quarter of our stories?
Not surprisingly, there isn’t a hard-and-fast answer to this. Every story is different, so, of course, every climax is different. The foundation of your slam-bang finale has to be built into the story—the plot and the characters—that preceded it. But there is one trick that can make a world of difference in your presentation of that final quarter, and it’s one we find used to great effect in Brent Weeks’s fantasy The Way of Shadows. This technique had me racing through his pages so fast that I quite literally lost track of time.
The technique I’m talking about is nothing more or less than shortening the scenes and chapters in the final quarter of the story. Doing so creates a sense of speed and urgency, as the story darts back and forth between the important actions of multiple POV characters, intertwining them, and funneling them all down to their inevitable meeting at the conclusion. Shorter scenes—which in turn are made up of shorter paragraphs and shorter sentences—suck readers into the mad dash of your finale. However, as with everything in writing, you have to use this technique with finesse. Don’t force it. Just watch out for the natural scene breaks, which should come faster and faster the closer you get to the end.
Tell me your opinion: Do your scenes get shorter toward the end of the book?
Related Posts: Are All the Pieces in Place for Your Climax?
How to Use Scene Breaks to Cut the Fat
Keep Slow Scenes Moving With Tension and Foreboding
Story by K.M. Weiland