Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Creating Suspense #MFRWauthor

The element of suspense is what drives a story forward. Once there is no question to be answered the story is over. We've all read stories that seem flat and nothing impels is to read onward. In From First Draft to Finished Novel, Karen Wiesner gives tips to keep this kind of suspense flowing forward.

Doubt is one such way. This can bring a conflict between characters. Doubt erodes trust. Did he or didn't he makes the other character wonder and perhsps fear. So thread doubt between your main characters.

Contrast your main characters in personality. Out-going versus stay at home and the suspense builds.

Pace your story. Feed little hints but don't rush to reach the end or you'll leave your readers wanting. Someone once told me a story is as long as it needs to be. Here's where your pacing comes about. Many years ago, I sent off what I thought was a short story. The editor sent back this comment. "This sounds like the synopsis of a novel." The story was rushed and underdeveloped. That sent me to learn how to write a novel.

Foreshadowing is the dropping of little hints about what could or could not happen ast he story unfolds. Just remember not to hit the reader too hard with the mist of what is to come. Things like If she had only known her friend wanted her dead will give too much away. Something like What did the odd look in Mary's eyes mean? Mary pulled ehr into a hug. "It's so good to see you." The hint is there but the reader won't think of that until later as the clues build and build.

1 comment:

Tamara Hunter said...


Thanks for the tips on creating suspense and pacing. My current WIP will greatly benefit from your suggestions.