Friday, April 27, 2012

SUSPENSE

Suspense - keeping the reader on the edge of their seat. Techniques for building suspense takes practice, loads of reading and is developed over time as the writer learns their craft.
The Dean Koontz Companion has some interesting points to make on suspense:

Suspense in fiction results primarily from the reader's identification with and concern about lead characters who are complex, convincing and appealing. Anticipation of violence is infinitely more suspenseful than the violence itself.
Style is as important as good characterization and anticipation. As the anticipation sequence builds towards the moment of violence or the dreaded encounter, the writer sometimes will employ more short sentences, simpler words, shorter clauses and phrases - all of which give the reader a sense of headlong, hellbent forward motion.
Suspense cannot be created in a vacuum. It is generated only as a by-product of good characterization, good pacing, an awareness of the value of anticipation as a prelude to action, strong stylistic control, and an ability - and willingness - to write complex characters and complex scenes that encourages the reader to suspend his disbelief and enter fully into the world of make-believe.

Authors who I believe have mastered the art of suspense and keep me on the edge of my seat are Dean Koontz and Stephen King.

Keep writing....

22 comments:

  1. Excellent topic. I can't wait to get feedback to see if I succeeded at this very thing in my draft. It's definitely a skill that takes a long time (and talent?) to master.

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  2. Excellent words of wisdom! I do like a build up of anticipation, whether in suspense or horror.

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    1. Thank you Rosemary. I agree, does make an interesting read. x

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  3. Great tips on suspense! Thank you.

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  4. I agree with you about Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Jeffery Deaver is a writer who keeps me on the edge of my seat too x

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    1. Ohhh thanks for that Teresa. I must look Jeffery Deaver up and have a read. x

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  5. Thanks for the advice. Stephen King must be the best.

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  6. Ha. Teresa has said *exactly* what I wanted to say. I'm a huge Jeffery Deaver fan - along with King and Koontz.

    Great post!

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    1. Hi Shirley - thanks for leaving a comment. I keep finding you hiding out in my spam folder. Mmmmm I am trying to work out why?????

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  7. Great post, Diane.

    (This is about the millionth time I've tried to comment - hope it works this time.)

    XX

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    1. It worked! Lol. Thanks for your comment x

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  8. Dean Koontz is very good at the craft of tension, I'm reading through his titles slowly. In between drafts!
    Good advice Diane.

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    1. I've been very much enjoying reading Dean Koontz lately. Love the variety of his stories. Thanks for the comment Maria :-)

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  9. Really enjoyed reading that post, Diane. I'll remember those important points for the future.

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  10. This is a great post and very helpful!

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  11. I agree the anticipation and build up are usually more full of tension than the actual action, especially if we can identify with the character and their fears.

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