Tip Tuesday Round Up: Tension and suspense4 min read

by Mar 14, 2017Tips0 comments

A weekly round up of writing advice and inspiration

“True character is only revealed in crisis. Put your character into big trouble (plot) and then we’ll see what he or she is made of (character). A major crisis forces us to take off the mask and reveal who we really are.”

Writers Helping Writers believe suspense belongs in every kind of novel, and here lay out the elements of creating good conflict.

“The author has one character telling the story as they remember it, allowing them to be the narrator. However, the switches from past to present is up to the author. That means right when something happens, the author has the power to pull back to present time. This undoubtedly drives some readers nuts, but can we deny it causes tension? Nope!”

Fictorians takes a look at how narrative voice can be used to create tension within your story, using some famous case studies to illustrate.

“Conflict gives us energy, it gives the characters problems to solve, it hooks us in and is core to any book. And crime readers are an intelligent bunch, they love a challenge, are the type of readers who enjoy cross word puzzles, who can spot a forensic error a mile off – they know their stuff and expect high standards.”

If tension is essential to any genre, crime is definitely it! In this article, Writing magazine focuses their attention on how crime writers create suspense, through foreshadowing, narrative style and killer cliffhangers.

“Up the ante. Raise the stakes. Whatever you want to call it, just pit so much against your protagonist that it seems impossible for them to resolve anything. If your reader can’t see a way out of the situation, then they’re going to be tense.”

Plotist‘s Jenny proposes several setups for creating suspense in your novel: whether creating irresolvable dilemmas, false successes, or good old-fashioned timing, there’s bound to be something here that will add some spice to your narrative!

“Allow your protagonist to relax and get her breath back before throwing her into the next frightening experience. During this brief relaxation of the tension, your reader’s heartbeat returns to normal – so it can accelerate again.”

Too much tension runs the risk of creating reader boredom. In this post, Mystery Thriller Week set out a line-by-line example of how to create suspense in peaks and troughs.

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