Can too many cliffhangers become boring?
Thank you so much for answering our questions in so much detail and so promptly!
I'm writing a book which revolves around a kidnapping. I followed the advice that to keep the middle interesting, keep bringing in small problems/ subplots that have to be resolved before the resolution of the end. But I'm just afraid that the three/ four attempts of the kidnapped boy trying to escape just make it boring for the reader who will think 'The author's just trying to elongate the book; obviously, he can't escape before the last chapter of the book.'
Any advice or tips to deal with this situation?
Thank you so much.Answer:
Rather than simply introduce a series of different problems, it's often more effective to introduce one problem but break it into a sequence.
For example, let's say you have an escape attempt. You could present that event as one scene, or you could divide that event into a sequence of four events, so that the escape attempt will have it's own beginning, complication, crisis, and resolution (just as the entire book has those four stages)
For example, perhaps the beginning is an event that gives him the idea. The complication may be assembling the things he needs or coming up with a plan. The crisis would be the attempt itself, and the resolution might be his receiving new restrictions or punishments because of getting caught.
When you turn an event into a sequence, you avoid looking like you're just padding. All the little events are an integral part of a story arc, which itself is part of the larger story arc, so nothing is superfluous.
You can do the same thing with any event in your story, and with any event in a subplot.
For instance, if you took the four events of the escape attempt sequence and divided each of them into its own sequence, and then perhaps did another iteration, you could turn the one escape attempt into enough material for an entire book.
Incidentally, make sure whatever happens in your second act (the middle) is an integral part of the book's overall story arc. That will also help keep the reader engaged.