Guest Post: Cliffhangers…

First, I would like to thank Delora for this amazing opportunity! Since starting CommonBookSense almost a year ago, I haven’t really left my blog much, so this is very exciting!


Cliffhangers. Am I pro-cliffhanger or anti-cliffhanger? What makes a cliffhanger good, what makes it bad? What’s the difference between movie and book cliffhangers?

Yes, these are the kinds of questions that keep me up at night.


Am I pro- or anti-cliffhanger?

I’m Switzerland on this matter. I don’t really HATE cliffhangers, but I don’t LOVE them, either. I guess it depends on where the author ends it. I mean, they obviously end it in a cliffhanger, but I mean HOW. Was it a good stopping point, or did they just randomly flip open their manuscript and say “Yep, I’mma end it riiighhhttt here!”? Was it always two books, or did they just split one? Did I enjoy the book? Is it worth buying the next one just to find out how that sentence ended? Whether or not I’m pro- or anti-cliffhanger depends on the book.


What makes a cliffhanger good?

I think that a good cliffhanger should make your breath catch in your throat; it should make you try to turn the page, even though there aren’t any pages left. A good cliffhanger should have a stopping point. There should be some finality to it; just a bit of closure. It shouldn’t end before something’s actually happened. I feel like the characters should accomplish what the plot-line of the book was setting you up for. They should have conquered SOMETHING, whether it be escaping over a fence, falling in love, or defeating someone in an epic dragon battle.


So, in order for the cliffhanger to be ‘good’ it has to:

  • Make you feel something (not just anger and disbelief)
  • A tangible closing/stopping point.
  • An epic dragon battle
  • Have something from the whole plot-line of the book actually accomplished.


What’s a bad cliffhanger?

I think that a bad cliffhanger would have to be one that just suddenly stops. No forewarning that the book is coming to a close…..nothing to signify that symbolic end. The climax was in full-swing, and then there aren’t any more pages. You’re half over the white line at an intersection and the green light turns to red. The characters didn’t accomplish anything but denying their feelings and crying about the struggles that the plot has in store, without ever doing anything about it. Not a single portion of the plot was filled in; nothing got accomplished. Essentially, a bad cliffhanger is one that makes you shake your head and ask yourself ‘was that book even worth it?’. When a reader picks up a book, they become a part of that world, a part of the characters and their struggles. When the characters don’t accomplish anything (even if it’s just admitting they’re in love with someone, or escaping over a fence), the reader feels like they didn’t accomplish anything. They pour themselves into the pages of the book, but get nothing in return…..That, in my opinion, is a bad cliffhanger.


The bullets of a bad cliffhanger:

  • When a traffic light skips yellow and goes straight to red
  • Zero accomplishments
  • Lots of crying about issues, without doing anything about said issues
  • Horrible coloring skills
  • Unrequited love (ReaderxBook)


What’s the difference between movie and book cliffhangers?

Well, first, there are two kinds of movies. Those not based on books, and those I avoid like the plague. I don’t watch a lot of movies (I’m more of a TV show person…movies are too long and make me antsy), but I do enjoy them from time to time. So, I’m going to separate this into two; movie-movie cliffhangers, and book-movie cliffhangers.


Movie-Movie Cliffhangers:

Movie cliffhangers can actually be really fun. I think I’m pro-movie-cliffhanger because I feel like I don’t put as much effort and emotion into a movie as I do a book. An example of a really good (in my opinion) movie cliffhanger would have to be Thor: Dark World. I recently watched it for the first time…by myself — because my family is a bunch of mean movie-watching butts– and after the ending I was like ” *gapes* Wooooahhhhhh, waaaattttttttt” and I went to interrupt my parent’s movie to talk to them about it. That’s what I consider a good cliffhanger, movie-wise. One that you really weren’t expecting, and makes you want to go out and buy the next movie.


Book-Movie Cliffhangers:

Book-movie movies are in the type-b category…the ones I avoid like the plague. The only book-movie movies that I actually love are the Harry Potter ones. They did such a good job. I hate seeing movie adaptions of books because they always get something wrong.  I always demand to read the book first, even if it isn’t a book I’d necessarily enjoy. ALWAYS! They A-L-W-A-Y-S mess something up! Even though I’m a speed-reader, I catch it, and when I do I let it known that they messed something up, my friends hate going to the movies with me, and make sure they tell me that the movie has a book AFTER we’re in the theater.

One really good example of a bad book-movie movie cliffhanger would be where they split the last book into two movies…Why…? Did half their book go missing during the filming of the first half? What were they thinking? Was the last half of the script written in special disappearing-ink that only the people who read the book can see?!?!


So, good movie-movie cliffhangers include:

  • Attractive shirtless men (those Hemsworths tho)
  • gasping
  • shock

Good book-movie cliffhangers:

  • If the book actually had a cliffhanger
  • That’s it.
  • It’s bad if they make up a cliffhanger
  • -1 stars
  • fail


I hope you guys enjoyed my opinions on cliffhangers! I also hope you guys will hop on over and check out CommonBookSense and some of our content! We’re planning some really fun things for the future! Thank you, again, Delora! This was a really fun topic to delve into!


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