Now, back to writing tips. Yesterday, we talked about entering the scene late. The point of this, is keeping the plot moving and pulling your readers in. The same can be said for leaving the scene early.
In my upcoming Case File 13 novel, Making the Team, I have a scene where the kids are looking for a dead body. I want to create a sense of danger, keep the action moving, and hopefully create a "one more chapter" moment for my readers. Here's the way the chapter ends.
“You think maybe we should come back in the morning?” Carter asked. “You know, when we can see better, in case some crazed maniac decides he’d rather have live bodies than dead ones?”
But Angelo wasn’t listening. “I think I’ve got something.” He jogged to the edge of the parking lot, his sensor beeping more and more quickly. “Right here,” he said, stopping at the edge of a field of high, dead grass.
Nick leaned forward and pushed back the grass. There, just where Angelo had led them, was a pile of bones with bits of flesh still clinging to them.
Obviously there is more to this scene, and even though what what happens next takes place right away, I moved it to a new chapter. By ending here, my readers are sucked into the next scene. This is especially important because the next chapter is a funny one to offset the tension in this chapter. I built up to the "big moment," and then stopped it before the scene could lose energy.
Remember, start where things are exciting and end before the momentum begins to slow down to keep interest high.