Friday, 21 March 2014

Creating tension

I read a lot of short stories, as you can imagine, and those that work do so for many reasons, key among them is the ability to create and retain tension.

So how do you create tension to stop that happening? Here’s some thoughts:

1 Put the reader in the situation. What does it feel like to be there?

2 Use the things at your disposal - the senses, is it cold, is it creepy, is your character affected by this: is a brave character suddenly scared, is a cool character panicky?

3 Create a sense of immediacy. Focus on people and their feelings in order to make the reader feel as if he or she is there.

4 Create word pictures. Use imagery to write visually.

5 Keep it simple - do not overdo it, not too flowery, nothing that will slow things down

6 Use dialogue to set the pace. Good dialogue carries dramatic impact, advances the story and develops character

7 Tension builds so write in spikes - tension, relax, tension relax. As your story comes to an end, build the tension to a crescendo.

John Dean

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