One of the most important parts of any serial is the cliffhanger and each of our writers has been asked to make sure this element is present in the first three parts of their quartet for The Queen’s Cryptographer. The reason, of course, that this is so important is that in the original serials of past centuries, the reader was sometimes waiting a week or a month between the various parts. As such, the power of the cliffhanger was critical in getting their readers to come back. It was ‘pay to know’.
And it’s the same here. If you’ve been looking forward to the next part of these stories to find out what is going to happen, that’s largely because the author(s) have managed to capture your curiosity through their adept use of the cliffhanger.
This week, let’s have a look at how they pull this off by looking at the last part of these three adventures.
First of all from our winningest author Jessica Seymour’s A Painted Map: we see Awi’s eureka moment as he grasps the significance of the riddle:
Awi leans over and traces a spear into the snow at his feet while Gerwar starts piling up the firewood. He traces the edges of the spear tip, watching the way that the snow glints and shines in the low sunlight. A glittering spear… thrusting downward…
Awi stands up so quickly that Gerwar yelps and nearly drops the axe on his boot.
“I’ve got it!”
Interested? So am I.
Morgan Wood continues to interest us too. In her story, as opposed to the cliffhanger coming in the form of waiting to see a riddle revealed as above, Morgan makes us wait to see the results of the threat of physical danger. This from her Japanese saga Misty Mountains:
“I am not leaving without you two.” I manage but Naka’s gaze turns from mirthful to dangerous in an instant.
“No.” He responds, voice cold. Naka forces a laugh. I haven’t felt this terrified since he slaughtered Iruka. His hands move to strike and darkness is swift to follow.
Last but far from least, Sam Aro drives the tension by potentially revealing something about the protagonist’s wife which will be of major importance in the final part of the quartet. Which means we have to wait…: This from Of Blood and Shadows
Kenweg’s expression distorted into something wild as he tried to fight his fear. The servant boy saw best to disappear from the vicinity as the wrath of his master clearly was meant for someone else.
“I… I can explain.” Kenweg tried, but Dan’s fist hit the wall behind him. “It’s your wife!” Kenweg screamed.
But there can only be one winner. So without further ado except for the mandatory drum roll… Our winner for the third week in a row is the that master of the bromance: Jessica Seymour. Well done and many congratulations!
Next week brings us to the climax of our three stories so of course, stay tuned!