internal cliffhangers

What the Heck Are Internal Cliffhangers?

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Grammar Nazis: you have to love them, or hate them. When it comes to grammar phrases, clauses, conjunctions, and all that good stuff, this could bring images of nightmarish English teachers peering over a frosted set of glass to your mind. (However, if you’re one of these people, then it will probably make you think of rainbows and Skittles.) 

One phrase in the Grammar Nazi’s book that any typical layman would probably not understand is just what we’re going to talk about today: “internal cliffhangers.” Just what does this curious phrase mean?

Let’s take a look at internal cliffhangers with those rascally Supernatural hunters Sam and Dean Winchester as our guides.

Cliffhangers: Dean Might Be Going To Hell

You already know what a cliffhanger is, especially if you are an avid TV watcher. Supernatural uses major cliffhangers throughout the show and always at the season finale. Is Dean or Sam going to hell? Are they getting out? This is a cliffhanger on the macro level; something we are very familiar with in movies, TV, and books but let’s take a look at the micro level of cliffhangers. These handy tools keep audiences reading your content instead of glancing through and forgetting about you.

Internal Cliffhangers: Dean’s Going Downstairs but What’s Sam Doing?

Internal cliffhangers are those little statements or sentences that keep the reader’s attention throughout the whole article or book. In the podcast episode for The Lede, Demian Farnworth defines internal cliffhangers as the sentences that piece your story, article, etc. together with emotion or shock to keep the reader interested. You don’t keep watching Supernatural because of the old, overdone cliffhangers of a character going to hell, you keep watching due to internal cliffhangers like wondering what Crowley is up to or if Castiel will ever stop being awkward. These are story arcs that piece the grand story together, but keep you interested until it is time for a massive plot twist and the season finale. Using internal cliffhangers will help cultivate long-term readers and customers, which will help your Google rankings and make your business successful.

Utilizing Internal Cliffhangers In Your Content

You need to be using internal cliffhangers in your content to help generate buzz and keep the reader’s interest. Cliffhangers can help in many areas and you can find ideas for them everywhere. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. They Can Help Your Storytelling. Storytelling is a perfect way to keep readers interested in your content. You don’t necessarily have to write a “Once upon a time” sentence, but you can outline your content in story format. Internal cliffhangers work wonderfully for storytelling, as they are major parts of stories already. Get to crafting some intriguing stories for your site and you will see that internal cliffhangers begin to come naturally. Don’t stress too much when it comes to writing these, though. You do not want your content to come across like you are trying too hard. Just write naturally and see what happens! You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to get these cliffhangers by just being natural.

2. You Can Gain Inspiration from Other Stories. If you are having a hard time coming up with great internal cliffhangers, try watching a few TV shows or films. This blog is inspired by the CW’s show Supernatural and that show really helped with the outline. The show is a great illustration of the use of major and internal cliffhangers; it also is a fairly popular show that many people enjoy, therefore, keeping the content relevant.

3. Internal Cliffhangers Keep You Relevant. The best way to learn how to use internal cliffhangers is by staying current. Relevant content is what will keep readers coming back and using relevant and fun cliffhangers will help.

Stay Inspired, Young Hunter

If Supernatural isn’t your thing, never fear; there are so many wonderful TV shows out there that can inspire your writing and give you great illustrations of how to use internal cliffhangers. You can even try to read the latest book series or look to some old, yet incredible, stories. Some great authors who are perfect with internal cliffhangers are George R. R. Martin, Stephen King, and Suzanne Collins. Pick up a book and see how many times you keep reading because you have to know more. Find different things that inspire you and help you craft excellent content. It doesn’t have to be a TV show or another form of entertainment. It can be something as simple as taking a walk or watching how people interact with each other. Stay in school and be willing to learn new tricks every day!



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