Other strategies that writers might incorporate into their stories include revelations, questions left unanswered, and a great piece of dialogue that leaves the reader wondering what the dialogue means. In Aaron Elkins' Writer's Digest article, "Three Ways to Know when to End Your Chapters," two other ways to consider ending chapters are breaking chapters where shifts in the story occur (change of place, time, or point of view, for example) and breaking "chapters in the heart of the action." After all, if you break a chapter in the middle of action, the reader will be more compelled to read further to see how the action concludes.
It was in this moment of thinking about the GOOD things Janowitz was doing in her story that I thought about the white space. Of course, white space helps visually. White space can improve legibility and comprehension, increase attention, and can create the right tones (Why Whitespace Matters). It also acts as a separator (11 Reasons Why White Spaces Are Good in Graphic Design), like we often see when separating scenes and chapters in a book.
Aside from the benefits of using white space, I found something else about white space: a question.
What's the question?
Within that white space, readers see that question. They have picked up the book and have voraciously read the first scene. When they come upon that first block of white space, this question appears. And it continues to appear at every scene and chapter break.
It is the writer's responsibility to develop a strong story that will make the reader answer YES to the question, each and every time until the story concludes.
In revisions, as you're making passes for other components you want to rewrite, make a pass for scene endings and a pass for chapter endings. Try on your Reader's Cap, and ask yourself if you'd want to read further based on the endings.
Keep the reader wanting to see what happens next in your story.
Shon Bacon is an author, doctoral candidate, editor, and educator. She has published both academically and creatively while also interviewing women writers on her popular blog, ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING. She's the author of mysteries, Death at the Double Inkwell and its sequel, Into the Web, the short story "I Wanna Get Off Here" (in the short story collection, The Corner Cafe), and the romantic dramedy novella, Saying No to the Big O. You can learn more about Shon's writings at her website, and you can get information about her editorial services at CLG Entertainment. Currently, Shon is busy pursuing her Ph.D. in Technical Communication and Rhetoric at Texas Tech University ... and trying to find the time to WRITE.