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Plotting Along for the Ride: Tension and Suspense

Today's Card: Six of Pentacles ~*~ March 29, 88th day of 2023 ~*~ Today's Color: Brown


 

Six of Pentacles means it's time to share the goods! Have you ever read a book or watched a movie that kept you on the edge of your seat, eagerly waiting to find out what happens next? Do you want that same type of excitement in your writing? Let’s talk about how to get that done!



One of the key elements of a successful story is the ability to create and maintain tension and suspense. When done well, these elements can keep readers engaged and on the edge of their seat, eagerly turning pages to find out what happens next. Here are some tips for adding tension and suspense to your writing:


Foreshadowing: This is a technique where you hint at what’s to come later in the story. By providing subtle clues, you can create anticipation in the reader’s mind, and make them wonder how events will unfold. However, it’s important not to make the foreshadowing too obvious, or it will spoil the surprise.


Cliffhangers: Ending a chapter or scene with a cliffhanger is a great way to keep the reader engaged. This means ending a chapter or scene on a suspenseful note, leaving the reader wondering what will happen next. It encourages them to keep reading to find out. Just be sure not to overuse this technique, or it can become frustrating for the reader.


Unexpected Plot Twists: Adding a surprise twist to your story can be a great way to keep readers engaged. It’s important to make sure the twist makes sense in the context of the story, and isn’t just thrown in for shock value. When done well, an unexpected twist can keep readers guessing and make your story more memorable.


Time Pressure: Introducing a deadline or time constraint can add urgency to your story, and create tension as the characters race against the clock to complete their goals. This can also be a great way to create a sense of stakes and consequences.


Conflict: No story escapes from conflict. Conflict is the fuel that drives the story. By creating a compelling conflict, you can create tension and suspense as the characters struggle to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals. Your story will have a central conflict to drive the plot, but little conflicts scattered throughout are also a staple of good stories.


Unreliable Narrator: Introducing an unreliable narrator can add a layer of tension and suspense to your story. By making the reader question the narrator’s motivations and perceptions, you can create uncertainty and make the reader wonder what’s really going on.


Overall, adding tension and suspense to your story can be a powerful way to keep readers engaged and invested in your characters and plot. By using techniques like foreshadowing, cliffhangers, unexpected plot twists, time pressure, conflict, and unreliable narrators, you can create a story that keeps readers on the edge of their seat from beginning to end. So go ahead and experiment with these techniques in your own writing, and get ready to create a truly engaging and unforgettable story!


You can see how I create tension and suspense in the romantic thriller serial: Fire in the Mountains! I try to create several levels of conflict, tension, and suspense in the story. If you like it, give it a thumbs up, a follow, and let me know!


 

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