Cliffhanger vs breadcrumbing

Cliffhanger vs breadcrumbing

When reading a book in a series, it’s common to encounter an ending that leaves you hanging, waiting for the next instalment. This is known as a cliffhanger. While it may be tempting for authors to leave readers on the edge of their seats, this tactic can often backfire and leave readers frustrated.

On the other hand, there’s a different type of ending that can work well for a series: breadcrumbs. These endings provide closure to the current story arc while also hinting at what’s to come in the next volume. Unlike cliffhangers, breadcrumbs don’t leave readers feeling cheated or manipulated into buying the next book.

So, what’s the difference between a cliffhanger and a breadcrumb? A cliffhanger is an abrupt ending that leaves the reader with a lot of unanswered questions. It often involves a dramatic event that forces the protagonist into a new situation, leaving the reader wondering how they’ll get out of it. The goal of a cliffhanger is to create suspense and keep readers hooked until the next instalment.

In contrast, a breadcrumb is a more subtle way of hinting at what’s to come. It may involve a minor revelation or an introduction of a new character or plot element that will play a role in the next book. The key difference is that breadcrumbs provide some resolution to the current story arc, while still leaving room for the story to continue in the next volume.

While cliffhangers can be effective in building suspense and keeping readers engaged, they can also feel manipulative and frustrating. Readers may feel like they’re being forced to buy the next book just to get answers to the questions posed in the previous volume. Breadcrumbs, on the other hand, provide a more satisfying reading experience by providing some closure to the current story arc while still hinting at what’s to come.

Ultimately, it’s up to the author to decide which approach works best for their series. However, by providing breadcrumbs instead of cliffhangers, authors can create a more enjoyable reading experience for their audience. Readers will appreciate the closure provided by the completed story arc, while still feeling excited for what’s to come in the next volume.


About Nemo

A lover of kittens and all things sparkly, Nemo has a degree in English Literature and specialises in reviewing contemporary, paranormal, mystery/thriller, historical, sci-fi and fantasy Young Adult fiction. She is especially drawn to novels about princesses, strong female friendships, magical powers, and assassins.

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