No playwright wants that 15-minute intermission to turn into an opportunity to slip out the back door. Well-crafted scripts make sure that questions are left unanswered and conflicts left unresolved at the end of each act so that the audience will keep coming back for more.
Likewise, when writing fiction, we also need to be aware of the adrenaline levels of our readers. Are they up? Are they metaphorically on the edge of their seats, wanting more? Good. Time to end the chapter.
Because then they have to start the next one… just to see what happens next, of course. And then they’re hooked for the next umpteen pages because no one wants to put the book down in the middle of a chapter.
If not, they put the book down and may or may not retrieve it when the dishes are done or the sit-com is over.
Every writer wants to hear that their book was a page-turner and readers couldn’t put it down… So don’t let them put it down.
Except sometimes you really ought to. One can have too much of a good thing. There are times when you should grant a degree of resolution, a glimmer of understanding, a moment of rest.
But always with the feeling that there is more to come.
Even when there isn’t.