Writing Suspense



Last week’s blog was about writing FANTASY. This week, we turn to Suspense

As the story unfolds, the main character attempts to evade potential harm.

Suspense is considered the king of genres. It gets the reader’s pulse going and takes  them on the ride of their life as the worry and angst deepen at every turn.

In suspense, the threat must be clear and present throughout the entire story. The villain pursues the hero (although it can be more than one person) and it is up to the hero(s) to figure out who is trying to get to them, why they are after them, and how they can be stopped.

Most suspense writers aim to include five key aspects:

  1.  Mysterious atmosphere with underlying tension
  2.  Varied pacing and numerous twists
  3.  Likable characters
  4.  Life or death situation
  5. Chapters end in cliffhangers to keep the reader turning the pages and moving       from one chapter to the next.

       TIP: Use time constraints. For example, Has four hours to…

Mary Higgins Clark, Brandilyn Collins, Joy Fielding , and Thomas Perry are just a few popular suspense authors.

These books may be helpful for novice writers:  Mastering Suspense, Structure, and Plot by Jane Cleland and Hallie Ephron; Suspense Thriller by Paul Tomlinson.

Mystery and thriller are genres that are often confused with suspense. (I will talk about them next week).