I never realized how many elements of good fiction writing apply to suspense until I began to do more research on the subject. Case in point, most fiction writers know that when they are creating plots for their characters they need to throw obstacles in their way. But did you also know that obstacles are important to building suspense? Check out the following article by John D. Brown, author of Servant of a Dark God.
"Readers want to hope and fear for a character. To feel this, they must not know what WILL happen, but do need to suspect or know what MIGHT happen and feel tension about the possibilities. They want that tension to build, and then they want to feel a cathartic release.
"The reader will continue to feel that tension as long as the problem is unresolved (the danger or menace remains, the character continues to suffer hardship, the mystery becomes more puzzling) AND the situation changes in such a way that the reader’s worry grows. . . We do this by throwing OBSTACLES into our character’s path. We make the problem hard to solve.
"There are four types of things that make the problem hard to solve: disadvantages, conflicts, growing troubles, and surprise. . ." more