Monday, May 27, 2013

Creative Writing - Building Suspense

It was Miss Scarlet...in the study...with the candlestick.  CLUE - I think we've all played it.  And who hasn't daydreamed about being a super sleuth?  Red herrings are key components in any mystery.  False leads, multiple suspects - these are the things a good writer is strategically placing throughout the story.  Debra H Goldstein and Nancy Curteman both had really informative posts regarding the use of red herrings. 

I write YA fiction.  While OF DREAMS AND SHADOW isn't a mystery, it does have elements of suspense. So, how do I build the suspense necessary to hold my reader's attention?  One of my characters was purposely written in a way to cause the reader to question the character's sincerity and motives.  By doing this, I was able to add a sense of mystery.  The uncertainty helped propel the story to a pivotal moment.  Location was another element I used.  By having my villain stalking a certain area, I was able to place my unsuspecting heroine in harm's way.  I also used a shared experience.  While the experience affected my characters in different ways, they were bound together.   

Suspense is necessary in any story.  It compels the reader to turn the page.  I found a great post at Divine Secrets of the Writing Sisterhood titled Ten Tips for Building Suspense in a Novel.  It is so worth checking out!