7 ways to write chapter endings that hold readers in suspense – by Louise Harnby…

Flat chapter finales are a fast track to reader disappointment. Here’s how to nail those last few lines so that readers can’t wait to turn the page.

Readers turn the page to find answers to questions. Why did that happen? Who’s responsible? What will happen next?

Unanswered questions at the end of chapters place us in a state of suspense. We’ll try to predict the answers based on the information we’ve been given.

We might be proved right. I thought so!

We might be proved wrong. I didn’t see that coming!

Either way, as long as there’s suspense, we’ll turn the page. Here are some ideas, with examples from published fiction, about how to do it, so that even predictable outcomes are structured line by line such that readers are itching with anticipation.

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