Horu's Chosen (An Alternate Egypt Book 2) is free until February 14th
Still reading and gleaning things from From First Draft To Finished Novel by Karen Wiesner.
Tension and suspense are needed to keep the reader turning the pages. We've all read books when you say to yourself "Just one more page." The writer has caught you up in the tension and suspense of the story. You want to know what happens next. Without these elements, the reader will toss the books aside.
Is there a difference between the two elements. It's a matter of degree. Tension makes the characters worry and the reader anxious about what will come next. Some stories have a lot of tension and little suspense. The decisions the characters make aren't earth-shattering. They may not be the right decisions but their choice brings tension to the story.
Now we come to suspense. This brings major worry for the characters and to the reader. They really worry about what is going to happen. Will the character's decision bring them into danger?
Both tension and suspense need to be built from the first page until the conclusion and the story ends. They need to be brought to a conclusion that allows the reader and the characters to be satisfied.
Though both need to be present at all times there is also a need for a break for the reader and the characters. Give them time to breathe. Give them time to relax. Remove them from the growing tension or suspense to experience something that eases them and the reader. This is particularly true with suspense. If the characters are kept on edge every moment of their story. The reader will become breathless and perhaps decide they can's read another world.
I've read books where the suspense almost makes me ill and I usually put the books aside. I've also read, especially romances, where the tension drags on forever. I stop reading. There are other books i've tried to read that lack either element. I stop reading.