The Cliffhanger-er

Irland Cliffs of Moherphoto © 2007 Michael Bertulat | more info (via: Wylio)

One of my few talents in writing is the ability to create amazing cliffhangers. I can start a story with a strong main character, a sarcastic, humorous tone, and a mostly cliche plot. However, after two and a half pages, it stops. The story dies in my head and it ceases to unfold on paper. I do not do this on purpose. I always try to be positive and tell myself, “You can finish this, Lourdes. All you need to do is see it through.”

I see nothing through.

Instead, one unfinished story after another inhabits the contents of my journals. As a matter of fact, the other day I was rummaging around my memory boxes (You caught me, I watch Oprah too, though I did not know my sneaker boxes filled with random sheets of paper were memory boxes.) and came across a novel in the making entitled: “A Guide to Being Someone Else: The Journey of High School.” Based upon the contents of the four handwritten pages I came across, I wrote this some time around my sophomore year in high school.

As I was slowly sucked into the story I began snorting and laughing. Not only was the voice genuine and honest, it was funny – I was not expecting this. It took me a moment to realize I was reading, in my handwriting, a story I’d written. Suddenly, I became glum. This story will never be finished. I could try to pick up where I left off but I am 22 now. I am more conscious of the mistakes I could make, the words I do not know how to spell off the top of my head, and mastery of cliffhanging I have procured.

I should not think this way but rather follow the wise words of Stephen King: “When you sit down to write, write. Don’t do anything else except go to the bathroom, and only do that if it absolutely cannot be put off.” But I cannot seem to control my bladder or my rare talent.

So for now this unfinished novel will remain in my multi-colored, dollar-store journal, buried beneath piles of fliers for events attended, newspapers written in, and Harry Potter candies uneaten.


Post Scriptum
I have to share a few of  my favorite lines from “A Guide to Being Someone Else”:

“I am one of those people you would call a ‘floor-mat,’ ‘push-over,’ ‘dollar-girl,’* and my personal favorite** ‘nice.’ Add to this the fact my parents are one of the most overprotective, never quitting, always knows what’s best for their daughter types and you have the ingredients to form a perfect homogeneous mixture of ‘you’re screwed.’”

* When I was younger I would always let my friends have, not borrow, a dollar. This trait of mine would spread around and classmates would ask me for dollar loans as well. It was a difficult habit to break.
Lourdes Keochgerien, YA Consultant & Reader**In my journal I wrote ‘favourite’ instead of ‘favorite.’ The characteristics of a self-promoted Anglophile were already seeping through at age 14. Thanks Rowling.

If you have your own cliffhangers to share, please do so in the comments or on our Facebook page.

Subscribe / Share

2 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Kerri says:

    As Lourdes’s former writing prof, I can vouch for her ability to finish certain stories, at least–to great effect! But I think a lot of writers have this same cliffhanger-er issue. Thanks for sharing! (Kerri)

  2. nita says:

    i have many of these too! some of my childhood stories have endings but one involved incest. though i didn’t know it at the time.

Leave a Reply

What Is YARN?

It's a brilliant thing to have a place where you can read fresh original short stories by both seasoned YA authors and aspiring teens. YARN is a great tool box for growing up writing. - Cecil Castellucci

Imagine. Envision. Write. Revise. Submit. Read.

YARN is an award-winning literary journal that publishes outstanding original short fiction, poetry, and essays for Young Adult readers, written by the writers you know and love, as well as fresh new voices...including teens.

We also believe in feedback, which is why we encourage readers to post comments on pieces that inspire thought, emotion, laughter...or whatever.

So. What's your YARN?

Publication Archive