How to build tension

How to build tension

by | Jun 9, 2021 | Writers | 0 comments

So, when I was in high school, someone came up with an idea about starting a monthly newsletter/magazine of some sort. I wasn’t much of a writer then, but I remember volunteering to have a column (because it sounded cool), where students could anonymously ask questions about anything that they needed advice on, and I would do my best to answer.

The column was meant to be titled: Dear Auntie Lorraine (insert laugh-out-loud emoji here)… I don’t know what happened in the end but the newsletter/magazine never saw the light of day.

And today I thought to start something similar albeit writing-related on this blog.

Question: Readers are not reading past the halfway mark. I’m worried about my pacing. How can I build more tension?

Simple Answer: Make sure everyone is hiding something…

The easiest way to build tension/suspense/conflict in any fictional story is to ensure everyone has something to hide. (Maybe not everyone, but the main characters at least). The moment you give your characters something they don’t want someone else to know, the greater the suspense.

I came across this really cool tip from one of the newsletters I subscribe to, and it was an AHA moment for me. It prompted me to look back at my own writing and I discovered that I already do this without even knowing. I love secrets and the juicier the better!

And now that I know about this cool tip, I’m starting to use it as a concept in my writing, and it’s magic! But the trick is not to give everyone secrets for the sake of it. It won’t work. Try to balance it out to suit your story and see if it works for you.

Happy Writing!



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