Suspense writing – more ‘how to’ gems

Okay, here’s more suspense writing tips I’ve collected. I hope there is something here you can use:

 

original image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Kristina Alexanderson

original image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Kristina Alexanderson

 

1)  The bad guy in your story needs to get steadily, progressively worse.  As the story goes along, the bad man needs to swell and grow, so that in each chapter he is more dastardly than he was before. He is a swelling water balloon that is growing bigger and bigger, and the reader fears that before the book is finished, he will pop all over the sweet heroine. The reader is right.

 

2) To help the villain do his job, (terrorise the reader), it’s a good idea to give the heroine the short straw. For some reason she is unable to defend herself or anyone else she cares about. Give her crippling guilt, crippling fears, blackouts, bouts of temporary amnesia or any sort of impediment you fancy. Maybe the baddie has captured her faithful Labrador  and threatens to do evil things to her dog if she fights back (okay, so now I want to kill him). The point is, make her situation worse.

 

3) Give her a life line. Write it up so that it looks like she’s about to succeed and then snap that line in two (she gets through to the police station but the phone signal goes dead; the hero policeman is around the corner about to come to her rescue but then, while rushing to her aid, he gets run over by a speeding car).

 

4) Fight scenes are overdone and hard to make scary or worthy of the reader’s time. It’s better to make the struggle an internal one (I want to fight back but if I do, he’ll use his knife on me. What are my chances of getting away? If I smash this over his head, I’ve got to do it properly and knock him out otherwise…)

 

That’s all folks. May your worst nightmares come to life on paper.

 

Original image via Flickr Creative Commons, "Haunting of the blue wood" courtesy of Russ Seidel

Original image via Flickr Creative Commons, “Haunting of the blue wood” courtesy of Russ Seidel

 

 

 

 

 

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