How to write suspense.



Sunday, November 10, 2013

Page-turning Momentum

One of my favorite secrets to keeping readers turning the pages of my books is that I end each chapter with something that causes readers to want to keep reading. Authors often work for that sense of forward momentum through the use of cliff-hangers like intriguing breaks in dialogue (Remember how the chapter broke between Bella and Edward's conversation at the restaurant in Twilight?), something bad happening, or the indication that trouble looms ahead. At the end of Chapter One in my paranormal suspense novel, Trapped, Emi Warren realizes a thief had been in her room while she slept.

Another lesser-known, page-turning tool also takes place at the end of the chapter. It is to include a new, POV character goal that makes the reader want to find out if he or she can accomplish it. For instance, at the end of chapter twenty-five in my contemporary, romantic-suspense novel, Missing, the romantic lead determines he’s got to find some way to tell the main character of his feelings for her even though he sees no way to do that. Will he find a way? What will happen if he does? That's suspense.

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