Cliffhangers are a great way to engage your child in both the reading and writing process. What exactly is a cliffhanger you might ask? In this post, you’ll learn more about what a cliffhanger is and how you can use a cliffhanger as a writing prompt for your next creative writing activity with your child. Be sure to find the FREE cliffhanger writing prompts in this post for you to use at home or in the classroom.
Cliffhangers Make Great Writing Prompts for Children
Writing the ending to unfinished stories was one of the most memorable activities from my early elementary days. I remember the moments my 3rd-grade teacher, Mrs. Pfister, would tell us these vibrant, often thrilling stories that left us in wonderment. Mrs. Pfister always had a way of verbal storytelling that got our imaginations working overtime! Just as the story was getting suspenseful enough, Mrs. Pfister would pause, analyze our faces as we sat enthralled, and assign us to complete the rest of the story. She’d laugh and laugh and laugh and we would do the same.
What Exactly is a Cliffhanger?
A cliffhanger is when a story or plotline ends suddenly or a large plot twist occurs and is left unresolved. Cliffhangers are often read at the end of a chapter or storybook that leaves the reader on the edge of their seat wondering, “What is going to happen next??” We also see this story element used heavily in serialized TV series.
For a more literal definition, a cliffhanger is often a brief, intentional stopping point that occurs during the rise and near the climax of any story. Hence the name! If the author creates a suspenseful enough cliffhanger, it leaves their reader just on the brink of teetering off the side of a cliff. It should give you the same feeling that you get when you’re on the initial incline of a roller coaster just about to drop down the first slope.
Use Cliffhangers to Teach Plot Diagrams for Narrative Writing
Most stories that children are introduced to follow a prototypical narrative arc much like the one below. Cliffhangers provide everything from the exposition to the rising action. For more information on plot diagrams, check out the Storyboard That website.
Cliffhanger Writing Prompts to Download!
I want to pass some beautiful cliffhanger writing prompts on to you and your child at home. This is a great activity for any beginning creative writer! Go on and give it a try for yourself!
Want to read more on writing authentically? It is important to give children the freedom to express themselves through writing. This can be done in an academic setting… in fact, it’s important that it is. Read more here on Writing Authentically.
Thank you for joining me here to learn all about cliffhangers. I would love to see how your child resolves the stories. Email your stories to @email@example.com and I will include them right here on this page!