Take the leap: Enter our August/September challenge for a chance to win a literary assessment

 In Writing Challenge

All About Writing’s latest writing challenge offers the winner a literary assessment on 5000 words of writing worth R 2750.

Here’s the challenge:


So you could think Dan Brown, at one end of the spectrum, or Ian McEwan at the other.  Cliff hangers are one of a variety of devices that writers use to get people to read on: they pose questions in the readers mind, and deliberately delay the answers.

Cliff-hangers can be obvious – the original cliff-hanger, written by Thomas Hardy, involved a man hanging from a sapling growing out of a cliff while his lady companion rushed to seek help – or they can be infinitely more subtle.

A less explicit cliff-hanger might see your hero, pursued by the forces of darkness, taking refuge in a room which he believes no one else in the world knows about. He triple-bolts the door, padlocks the shutters and settles down with a sigh of relief… And then the landline in his refuge rings…

Cliff-hangers, of course, are not restricted to action-stories. A mother’s ambivalence about her child who suffers from cystic fibrosis could leave the reader with a terrible presentiment. The mother wakes in the night to clear his breathing tube and then stands above him listening to him struggle to take his next breath…

And finally, cliff-hangers do not always occur at the end of chapters or scenes: they can be set up throughout your writing to excite a sense of anticipation. All you need is an unanswered question…

Writing Challenge: Write a short scene that ends with a cliff-hanger so intense that the reader finds it impossible not to read on…

Your scene should be no more than 250 words long. Paste your entry into the body of an email and send it to pam@allaboutwritingcourses.com. Deadline midnight 30 September 2018.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Leanne Johnson

    For the August/September 2018 ‘Cliffhanger’ writing challenge, are we permitted to submit more than one entry?

    • Trish Urquhart

      Yes, you are absolutely welcome to submit more than one entry. Leanne. We look forward to receiving them.

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