Ending a sequence on a cliffhanger may be cliché, but it remains as one of the most effective ways to get audiences hooked, regardless of whether you’re writing long or short fiction. Why do you think “corny” soap operas remain on TV to this very day?
Many fiction writers use cliffhangers to end chapters as a way to generate interest for the next chapter. And it works effectively for that, too. Surely, you must have picked up a book one time planning to read just a few chapters and ended up being unable to put it down?
If you’re writing a book, you should seriously consider using cliffhangers to end chapters. Your cliffhangers don’t always have to be overt (too much of those and they begin to feel trivial) — they can be subtle questions left unanswered or lingering doubts left unassuaged. Vary them from chapter to chapter, too. Using the same setup after every chapter makes your approach to them feel trite.
Once you’ve established your dilemma, revelation or unexpected twist (or some other cliffhanger), start the next chapter by playing out the tension it created. Don’t give the reader peace right away. The longer you can keep them guessing without forcibly dragging the pace, the longer you can stretch the emotional impact of the cliffhanger.