This part I like.
Add a ticking clock: There are few things more nerve wracking than a countdown. Adding a time constraint can really amp up the suspense by applying that much more pressure to an already tense situation. Think of any story with a deadline, and you’ll know what I mean. A couple of things that will help ensure that you do this successfully: a) keep checking in on the time so that your reader stays aware of the time limit, and b) you can also choose to slow time down to real time in order to draw out the action and build anticipation.
Up all night – just can’t stop reading.
Suspense isn’t just for mysteries. It’s a critical element of any successful story.
Done well, suspense uses uncertainty to make the reader feel both excited and anxious. Suspense is what keeps a reader turning the pages. It’s a sense of dread or anticipation brought on by a lack of information that keeps the reader guessing. Will she, or won’t she? Can they ever overcome the odds? Who will he choose? Will she tell the truth? Will they get there in time?
Last fall, during the Fiction I class I took via Grub Street our instructor, KL Pereira gave us five tips for adding suspense to our stories:
- Give your protagonist an explicit goal or objective: If your readers know exactly what your protagonist wants (or wants to avoid), they will be more easily hooked because they will want to know whether or not the…
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