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I thought I would share something I read in the Writer’s Digest Newsletter with you.
We may find this useful to keep suspense in our writing.
1. Keep the Action Intense: Remember your story will lose momentum and the reader’s interest if a significant amount of time goes by without any action. This could mean you are using too much back-story.
2. Make the Danger Feel Real: The characters must act as if the threat to them is real in order to make the scene believable to the reader. Keep pressure on the characters, even if they aren’t in physical danger. This is no time to stop for back-story, or to pursue any romantic undercurrents between your characters. Weave in back-story elements, preferably in dialogue.
3. Keep Emotion High: The lifelong happiness of your characters is at stake, even if they aren’t in physical danger. By keeping emotion at the core of your story, it reminds your readers that the situation is important.
4. Repeat the Action, Phrase or Event: The first line of dialogue or use of action may be casual getting the readers attention. The second use makes it clear that the information is important. The third use is forceful. The stakes are enormous, the back-story given by the first two have laid the groundwork, preparing the reader, now on the edge of their seat waiting to see what will happen.
5. Hide what the Characters are Thinking: The heroine may see the clenched jaw of the hero and assume he is mad at her when all along he may be thinking about his toothache. If you let this information out, the heroine won’t know what the hero is really thinking, but the readers will. When they do, all the suspense of the scene is gone.
Just remembering these five simple steps will set up the momentum of your story and keep it going to the end.