Session Description

How do you keep the reader reading when the average adult’s attention span is 8.25 seconds? Cliffhangers are a technique used by genre writers (who sometimes get a bad rap) to keep their readers reading. And isn’t that what we all aspire to, above everything? Because cliffhangers are sometimes associated with schlocky writing, that doesn’t mean we should ignore their usefulness as a craft tool in all sorts of writing. We’ll look at five chapter-ending cliffhanger techniques with examples you can use in your own writing.


Melinda Farris‘ first career was as a Washington, DC, political operative and international democracy consultant. She worked on Capitol Hill, advised Cabinet nominees on a Presidential transition team, and coached democratic forces in Russia, Zimbabwe, and Afghanistan. Excerpts from her unpublished first novel, The Fourth Degree, have been described as The Da Vinci Code meets National Treasure and received awards from the Southeastern Writers Association, Writer’s Digest, and The Seven Hills Literary Review. Melinda started the St Simons Island Writers Group two years ago, which includes critique groups and networking opportunities for local writers. In two years, the membership has doubled. She graduated in 2023 with an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University.