By: Jennifer Ellis
We all know those books, movies, and TV show seasons that end with a cliffhanger that enrage some fans. Do a search on cliffhangers that people hate and you will come up with a wide range of “cliffhangers” that caused a furor, such as: The Lord of the Rings, The Empire Strikes Back, The Dark Tower by Stephen King (and a lot of other books by Stephen King), Dallas (the Who shot JR?
several of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books, Gone with the Wind, Gone Girl, The
Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Inception, The Hunger Games, and Catching
“Cliffhanger” endings can cause varying degrees of rage among fans depending on how the person felt the writer handled them.
I call them “cliffhangers” in quotation marks because they are not all strictly cliffhangers and there are variations in the definition of
reality, there are various types of endings to books, shows and movies, that
are on a continuum from an “every single thing is completely resolved ending”
to a true cliffhanger. There are no commonly accepted names for the types of
endings that occupy the middle of the continuum, and there is a lot of
confusion with regard to which is which, with some people calling anything in
which everything is not totally resolved a cliffhanger.
Four Types of Unresolved Endings
For the sake of clarity, I have come up with the following four types of unresolved endings:
1) A True Cliffhanger Ending
. . .
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If you missed my writing & marketing tweets and retweets yesterday, here they are again:
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I try to end every chapter of my novels with a cliffhanger(ette). If nothing else it forces me to keep up the excitement.
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