A few days ago I wrote a post on how to write chapters. Today I’ll write how to end the chapter. Sometimes, deciding where to end the scene you’re writing can be tricky. I like to end scenes when my character leaves a place, finishes a conversation, or discovers something major to the plotline. Occasionally I’ll cut an action scene in half. Here are some ways to end chapters:
1) When the setting changes: If your character has just decided they’re going to venture off to new place, it’s a good chance to end the scene and begin the next chapter with them travelling towards the new destination or have them already there. It doesn’t have to be a place that’s new, either. You can introduce a new character or open an unknown door and have the same kind of transition.
2) When a major plotpoint has been revealed: Your character has just discovered something vital to their story arc. There is surprise, shock, etc. Leave them that way and address the mystery or problem in the next chapter. This could be as simple as, “I have something you need to know…” or, “I was there that day. I saw everything.” It gives suspense and everyone loves suspense (even if they rage about it online because they have to wait a whole week to see a new episode of their favourite show). Suspense draws readers in.
3) When the character has been immersed in action: This is a good way to break up scenes, but don’t do it too often. It should be a kind of “shock value” that causes the reader to want to continue on to the following page to find out what happens next. A reader can’t just let the characters remain in imminent danger, after all. (Or is that just me?) Using this way too much becomes predictable and stale, so try to use it sparingly. Having breaks in the action in a vital part of the story is a good idea.
Those are my main chapter ends and they can be quite effective. If you can think of other ways, be sure to add them in the comments! 🙂