I got some really good feedback about my middle-grade novel series yesterday. The first three chapters of book three were up for critique at our local writing group. I'd been wondering if it was even worth persevering with, but they seemed to find enough that they liked to persuade me I ought to try. So now I have three main things to think about:
1. I need a stronger start. One suggestion was to start with chapter two, but they liked the character introductions in chapter one, so maybe I should look for some other strong event... or at least a strong sentence.
2. I need to be more careful about introducing "new" characters; readers might not have read the previous books.
3. I need to think about how my chapters end...
So, here's where I ask you a question.
My instinct is to treat chapters like short stories each with a beginning, middle and end. I suspect that's born of the fact that I read in short bursts; I like to know where I last left off, and I like know when I'll next feel able to stop. But...
Is it true that middle-grade readers need cliff-hanger endings?
Come to think of it, what about other readers readers too? Am I doing this all wrong? I really should have asked before they finished the critique, but please tell me what you think.