Suspense in Dialogue

There are many ways to introduce suspense into dialogue. Suspense is the element of uncertainty. What is going on? What will happen next? Because dialogue is “people telling other people things”, you may wonder how the sharing of information can lead to uncertainty. Revelations: The realization that things are not as they seemed a minute […]

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Raise Reader Tension: The Unknown

Introduce the Unknown and you will have the reader on edge — an immediate increase in reader tension. You can do this at any point. I think Middles are particularly well-suited for doing this since Beginings are for set-up, Endings are for wrap-ups, but Middles are for complications. And what is more intriguing and unsettling  […]

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Raise Reader Tension: Main Characters

How can you increase reader tension? I mentioned that it isn’t the character that has to feel the tension but the reader. One way to achieve this is through tweaks to your main characters. Remember that surprise is key to reader tension. One reason readers become complacent is that over time, they learn to predict […]

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Raise Reader Tension: Surprise

Does your story drag when you reread it, despite a well-conceived plot? You may be having trouble with dramatic tension. A feeling of tension in the reader is vital to building suspense because it keeps the reader from feeling complacent. Reader complacency is the enemy to tension. A reader can still feel complacent — and […]

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Working With the Absent Antagonist

Day Thirty-eight: Skulking (Photo credit: mbshane)   The book opens when the protagonist finds recent signs of the monster she has been hunting. The creature is nearby but does not actually appear until the next scene. Who is her main opponent? The creature. Where is it? Not here. Scenes of pursuit and flight are perhaps […]

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