As a teenager, I had a bit of a daredevil streak. It’s not that I’m overly brave; I just hate to be afraid. If I was scared of something, I had the overwhelming need to facedown that particular fear. I refused to own it or let it control me.
Plus, I got a kick out of the adrenaline rush. I call it my young and stupid phase. Thankfully, I survived it; although, I had some close calls.
My dad got stationed in
the year I graduated from high school, and I decided I didn’t want to stay by
my lonesome in ,
so I moved with my folks. I had just finished my first college semester. I
still lived at home, and I felt stifled by m parent’s rules. I wanted to live
life on my own terms to see if I could. I think a lot of kids on the cusp of
adulthood go through growing pains at this age. Kansas
I was studying to be a Wildlife Biologist at the time, and I thought it would be a good experience for me to join the California Conservation Corps (CCC). I thought I would be working in one of the State Parks fighting wildfires and communing with nature. Instead, I was sent to
Still, for three months, I was free from my loving, slightly overprotective parents. It was wonderful. And it sucked eggs.
I learned a few things from this experience:
1) I could survive on my own.
2) I wasn’t ready to be on my own.
I also learned to never to go dirt surfing off of the edge of a cliff.
There is a brief moment when you’re hanging onto the edge by the tips of your fingers when you think, “Damn, this is stupid.”
The ocean below a 20 feet drop looks kind of welcoming in a terrifying way, especially when the alternative is smashing against the rocks. I was fortunate. I missed both. I fell, hit a rock-free patch of sand, then rolled (a lot) until I fetched up on the beach. I had some bruises and scraps, no broken bones, and a new-found fear of falling/heights, which I combat by forcing myself to climb really high ladders and rappel off of buildings. My kids take after me in this respect. Kiwi almost reached the top of this rock climbing wall
|Me, and my son, M- age 4- 2006|
|Kiwi- age 6- 2006|
Which is why I want to acknowledge the importance of CLIFFHANGER.
When a reader gets to the end of a chapter they are faced with a choice: to turn the page or put the book down. You, the writer, want them to keep reading. To keep them engaged, they need to feel like I did while hanging over that stupid cliff and wondering what’s going to happen next. Are the characters going to survive—emotionally, physically or are they doomed to fall onto the jagged rocks below?
So, how do you deal with those pesky chapter endings? Do you like a good cliffhanger?