What is a cliffhanger?

Don’t we all love cliffhangers? It’s the suspense element that keeps us hooked to a story.

The term is used to refer to a book of suspense or the suspense element in a story. In serialised stories, at the end of an episode. The protagonist is placed in a grave situation like hanging from a cliff, leaving the reader in anticipation. The idea is to sustain the reader’s interest in the story and ensure that he reads the next episode.

The technique became popular in the 1900s when newspapers serialised stories. It was then adapted in television serials and soap operas.

However, diffhangers were used even earlier, in Victorian novels. Wilkie Collins, well-known for his novel “The Woman in White”. used the technique very successfully, keeping the readers engrossed with elements of suspense.

What is pulp fiction?

Pulp fiction refers to sensational, racy serialised stories of crime and romance often printed on low-quality paper. The paper was made from cheap wood pulp.

In early 19th century England and USA books or magazines containing sensational serialised stories of crime and romance became very popular among working class men and women. The stories had lurid and colourful illustrations. Since they cost a penny in England and a dime in the US… they were referred to as ‘penny dreadfuls and ‘dime novels. The books were printed on paper made from very cheap wood pulp and haphazardly cut and bound. Each book had just 10 pages, but publishers came out with new issues every week. Though dismissed by educated readers as ‘pulp fiction, film scriptwriters often found them an inspiration and many jumpstarted their writing careers by contributing stories to these books and magazines,

Penny dreadfuls and dime novels were succeeded by pulp magazines or pulps which were 128 pages long and cost 10 cents apiece. Those printed on better quality paper were called glossies or slicks and cost 25 cents each. Many respected authors wrote for the pulps. The stories had characters such as Doc Savage, Phantom Detective and The Shadow and were considered forerunners of the superhero comics such as Superman, Batman and Spiderman. (Content provided by Amrita Bharati).

Picture Credit : Google

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