Hooking Readers with Amazing Cliffhangers: SPP #120

This week the guys talked about using cliffhangers to make a series or serials addictive for readers. They talked about both good and bad examples of cliffhangers, and there are some spoilers, so BEWARE!

First, Johnny opened up a mini-topic: dating your work. Should you include dates, technology, or cultural references in your work? Will that turn readers off in just a few years? Is there a way to date your work without losing future readers? They talked about how Stephen King dated his work all the time, to both good and bad effect.

But there is a danger here, and you can give your book a very short shelf life if you’re not careful. Even though the guys spent only a few minutes on the topic, it did include some interesting food for thought.

On to the main topic. The guys talked about cliffhangers: Why you use them, when you should or shouldn’t use them, and to what effect.

They included some examples of good cliffhangers. So possible spoiler warnings for Dexter and Battlestar Galactica. A few other shows that have handled cliffhangers well are Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, and Game of Thrones, though they didn’t mention any specifics for those series.

Cliffhangers can also be done poorly or at the wrong time. They showed some examples of ways to enrage your readers, which probably isn’t a good thing.

Finally, the show ended in a cliffhanger, so you’ll have to tune in next week to find out what happens to…

Here’s the video version:


5 Replies to “Hooking Readers with Amazing Cliffhangers: SPP #120”

  1. Werner

    Great show guys, I…
    Oops, gotta go. Some gorgeous chick in a little blue bikini and a sketchy looking dude carrying a black duffel bag just entered the offi

  2. Carl Sinclair

    If you want to see a really good podcast cliffhanger, watch SPRT’s 1st birthday show.
    In our pilot episode, the show got cut off during the finale as I was about to explain our important news. Tech problems.
    In our 1st birthday, I set up during the show I had huge news and as I started to say it, again, we cut it off.
    That was a funny attempt at a cliffhanger to end the show though. What did you actually have planned?

  3. Leif Liberty

    I enjoyed the episode. You discussed content that “dates” a story.
    One example was a man drinking alcohol and listening to music in his truck. I believe that the writer changed the description from the man listening to AM radio to listening to satellite radio. My question is, how is either important to the story? Could you not simply say that the man was drinking (whatever he was drinking) and listening to fuzzy dance music? How is the technology important? Perhaps fuzzy or scratchy or something could be a signal that the music or the technology delivering the music was old for the given time.
    Thanks again. I always enjoy your podcasts.

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