How to write suspense.



Sunday, October 2, 2011

Withholding Information

So, what do you think about this bit of advice from Mosaic Writing?

"Withholding pertinent character information can also build suspense."

The blogger goes on to give examples from the book Skellig by David Almonds, stating the author only reveals a particular character's description (early on in the book) and not his nature or even his name. I haven't read Skellig, so I'll take the blogger's word for it, but this bit of advice sounds intriguing to me. I suppose that's because I've been thinking a lot about beginnings lately, and I've read conflicting advice about initial character development. Some say to describe the MC so the reader is able to connect with him/her before the inciting incident actually happens, and others say to jump right in with the inciting incident and worry about descriptions, etc., later.

In reality, the blogger probably wasn't referring to beginnings at all, and was likely offering another example of stringing the reader along with crumbs of details or even misleading them with red herrings and misinterpreted information. And yet, I'm thinking about it in relation to beginnings. Your thoughts?

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