“Shut the damn door.” Alice Burton was standing behind her enormous clutter-free desk. She was leaning on her hands, putting all her weight onto them, thrusting her shoulders forward, like a panther ready to pounce.

I thought today would be a good day to talk about the opening and closing of chapters. How do you do it? Personally, I can’t leave a chapter without a cliffhanger. I’ve tried, but it just doesn’t work for me. I guess writing is such a thrilling ride in itself, that to stop it at the finish of a chapter without a final crack of the whip, goes against my energetic style.

The passage above is my opening to chapter 3 of my new novel ‘The Song of the Underground’. I remember when I wrote it. I had a blank page in front of me, after I had just completed the ever-so-important chapters 1 and 2. A line popped into my head. ‘Shut the damn door’. I typed it up. There it was in black ink on my white screen, waiting to be embellished. And so it began, resulting in the dynamics of two new characters and an arc that demonstrated a way forward and a means to an end. Perfect!

I begin most of my chapters that way. I allow the words to filter into my fingertips and let them do the talking. It’s a wonderful feeling, as you know yourself, when suddenly you are creating something that never existed a moment ago, that will, on completion, be forever etched and preserved to the end of time.

And the finale of said chapter! What do you do with it? Do you allow it to just fade away and go on to chapter 4 (nothing wrong with that) or do you do what I do and leave it dangling on a piece of string?

Cliffhangers! Wonderful tools for the readability factor, but also it can allow the writer a way out when said writer doesn’t quite know where that part of the storyline is going yet. So you leave it hanging…reader is potentially happy and writer has just bought some time to think up the next part of the story. At least that’s my take on it.

Ben kept reading. It was a personal letter coming directly from Alice Burton’s office. “The Sous Llyndum project? What’s that?”
Col. Geoffrey Barnes stood up. He was leaving without touching his drink. “We’ll discuss that in the morning, on the way.”
Ben placed his coffee cup onto the white china saucer. “On the way, where?”
“Sous Llyndum.”

That was the end of chapter 3; a perfect cliffhanger, allowing me time to consider exactly what these characters were going to do when they got to Sous Llyndum; my subterranean city beneath London.

I’ll talk more about writing techniques later. And if anyone has anything to add, please feel free to comment at the end of my blog.

If you want a better idea of what I’m writing about in ‘The Song of the Underground’, check out the tab above. The book is Steam Punk genre and an artist has created some wonderful images of three of my characters. You can click on the pictures if you want a more detailed image. They’re fabulous.

Have a good day y’all

Wendy

GuidedGal
2/16/2012

Hi Wendy! I did read the first three chapters and can't wait to find out more. As to your question I am not considering myself a writer as of yet, just a poet. My inspiration for my poetry is guided by God. There can be a phrase, object or even a dream that will spark the beginning of the poem. The words just flow out of me. I find if I try to "fine tune" it, it starts to fall apart and make no sense. I know what you mean though about creating something that lasts that didn't even exist before! Keep writing and I'll see ya tommorrow! :)

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