Writing Time, Part 73. 3 Tricks for Sustaining Tension

I’m moderating a panel on creating tension and one on sustaining uspense, so it seems like a good moment to address ways to accomplish this. If we can create suspense, and sustain tension as we plot and draft, then we save a lot of time on revisions, as well.

Consider trying one or more of these:

  • Keep the story goal front and centre, so we remember that what matters to our point of view character.
  • Within the parameters of genre, establish that anything can happen. If the author has something unthinkable happen at the start, then that raises the tension: you know a hopeful young squire isn’t safe just ’cause he’s young and hopeful.
  • Remove tension killers. Capote said, “I believe more in the scissors than in the pen.” Check ends of scenes and chapters, make sure there’s no sentence that seems to finish things off.

More on tension and suspense next post. In the meantime, I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week. JM Landels, Susan Pieters, and I appear March 31-APril 2 2017 at the Creative Ink Festival in Burnaby, BC. Great festival, I highly recommend it. Cheers Mel

This week from @yourwritingmuse: I admire your perseverance as you create time blocks for planning, drafting, and revising. Your fan, your Writing Muse #amwriting @pulpliterature


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