Pitfall and Cliffhanger

Today I am going to discuss two small words that always cause a bit of an uproar in the literary world: Pitfall and Cliffhanger. Readers despise them, and come on...we writers LOVE to write them.
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Even though as readers we (technically speaking) hate these two things, maybe because we hate seeing the characters make mistakes or hate the book leaving you in a state of suspense, they add an AMAZING element to any story. They deserve some admiration. Any other authors agree?

Pitfall: We all know what this is, don't we? The main character suddenly takes a downward arc. Maybe something happens externally (like getting an arm chopped off), or they develop some sort of 'moral' issue (ex: becoming a drunkard/consuming sense of revenge, etc..). However, you can't allow your characters to wallow in their pitfall. Consider this: How far are you willing to push your character? Try to push them To.Their.Limits. All their highs and lows. You wanna get them at their best, and (though we hate to say it) their worst. Some good examples of  pitfall is Boromir from Lord of the Rings and Edmond from The Chronicles of Narnia.

This adds an excellent element to any story because it proves that our characters are flawed. That they really are flesh and blood, so to speak. Not every character needs a pitfall, of course. Lots of young authors are afraid to write in a pitfall. Don't be. Yes, we want the characters to be loveable, but part of that is making them real.

 ~If I asked my characters to break their hearts for me, they would. They'd do it a hundred times~

Cliffhanger: Not a reader in the world doesn't know what this is. And unfortunately for all the readers out there, writing them is just plain fun. Not gonna lie. From an editorial point of view, this is good because it increases suspense.
Not sure how to create a cliffhanger? Simple. Ask a question and leave it unanswered...until the next chapter. Make a statement or drop a clue, and let it hang. Not only does it make the reader leap up from the couch, dramatically shout "I NEED TO KNOW!!" and dash to the library--it creates the suspense that is going to keep your reader or editor interested.

Life IS unexpected. Unexpected things happen all the time. Sometimes we don't find things out straight away. Therefore, you can do something unexpected and let people dangle for a while. This also keeps anything from becoming too blatantly obvious.

These elements deserve appreciation...
from every author out there. Pitfalls and cliffhangers will never disappoint. I believe they are not really hated. (Especially since the word "hate" is thrown around so loosely nowadays...)

Don't be afraid to write them.

There's a reason they exist.

Let's Chat!
1. Any other writers agree: do pitfall and cliffhanger deserve more admiration than they receive?
2. Which is easiest to write?
3. Do you believe that pitfall and cliffhanger are valuable assets? 


  1. ohhhh this one is great. cliffhangers seem easier to write, but the more i think about it, my characters usually have a pretty big pitfall in each story arc, even if its just an emotional pit they must grapple out of. they are extremely valuable, and pitfalls especially should be given much more credit. :)

    1. Thank you! Yes, I agree. Pitfalls are a good point in lots of character arcs. ;)

  2. Yes! Pitfalls and cliffhangers deserve more admiration than they receive especially since they are difficult to master. Sure, you can create the perfect suspenseful moment, but its hard(for me at least) to successfully resolve it without making it anti-climatic.
    Neither are easy for me to write. Unfortunately.
    Yes, most definitely they are incredibly valuable assets!

    1. Thanks! I agree. They are hard to write without being anti-climactic. I just don't see why so many readers hate on them. I mean, I love reading a good cliffhanger. But maybe I'm just weird. Lol. XD

  3. I agree that "hate" is thrown around too much nowadays. Cliff hangers and pitfalls deserve lots of credit because even though as a reader I dislike them, they also keep me interested. Nothing like a good book to keep you isolated in your room during the weekend. As a writer, I enjoy them because they torture readers, which is probably most pleasurable to me when writing a story. I find it easier to write cliffhangers than pitfalls, but both are not too difficult for me and YES, they are extremely valuable assets!

    1. Yes! I think it's different to just dislike something and to genuinely hate something.
      I'm glad I've got so many writers on my side! Lol. Thanks! xD


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