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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Biting the bullet

Culled paper (Photo credit: Dvortygirl) After two days of hemming and hawing I decided to rewrite this chapter from scratch, too. Technically, it isn’t from scratch. When I rewrite a chapter in this draft, I reuse the summary and incorporate new notes then fill in the gaps. But most the words I keep are new. […]

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Revision Step 1: Delete for Conflict!

This blog post looks at what to delete from events in order to improve clarity, voice, logic, and flow. By deleting content in your first step of revision, you won’t waste time polishing material you will only remove later on. And if deleting content leaves holes, you can brainstorm and fill the gaps with something […]

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(quote) Ruskin Bond on style

“People often ask me why my style is so simple. It is, in fact, deceptively simple, for no two sentences are alike. It is clarity that I am striving to attain, not simplicity. “Of course, some people want literature to be difficult and there are writers who like to make their readers toil and sweat. […]

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Revision Step One: Delete for Style!

           I’m doing some major revisions of a manuscript. I recommend beginning the revision process by looking for things to remove. Many times deleting content will improve clarity, voice, logic, and flow. As an added bonus, by deleting content in your first step of revision you won’t waste time polishing material you will only remove […]

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