Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Weaving Suspense into a Story by Annslee Urban

Annslee Urban
How can you add suspense to a story? I'm thrilled to host my friend and multi-published suspense author, Annslee Urban, who has lots of tips for keeping your reader engaged. ~ Angie

Suspense is the most vital element in all genres of fiction. Without it there’d be nothing to keep the reader turning the pages.

Some tips on adding suspense to your story.
  1. The Characters
    • Let your readers see their flaws as well as their strengths. Give them problems to sort through.
    • Put your hero and/or heroine in jeopardy. Give readers a reason to be concerned about them.
    • Make your villains real. Bring them to life, give them a personality, something the reader can identify with. Let the reader know their motivation.
    • Let something from the past hold the hero and heroine back. (Click to Tweet) Insecurities, past regrets. Something they need to overcome to move forward.
  2. Complicate things 
    • Let things go wrong on the path to whatever the character is trying to achieve. Make them work hard for what they want to gain.
    • Create conflict between characters. Misunderstandings that need to be resolved. Let the reader know that internal thoughts of the characters and their concerns about how or if they can resolve the conflict.
    • Add a plot twist. Just when the reader has it all figured out, push the characters to their limit. Give false clues. Make your readers wait and wonder.
    • Always make the story problem clear, so the reader doesn’t have to wonder what is wrong, only how it is going get fixed.
  3. The ticking clock:
  4. Action Packed Dialogue: 
    • Make your dialogue strong, succinct. Fewer words, more emotion. 
    • Drop hints, but never tell too much. Always have the character still needing answers, wondering what to do next. 
    • Show, don’t tell. Action speaks louder than words. 
    • Let the reader hear the characters thoughts. 
  5. Add tension: 
    • Each scene should have tension. Some issue needs to be resolved. 
    • Use flashbacks. Emotional baggage, losses, mistakes. Something that holds the characters back from success. 
    • Secrets produce anticipation, tension. Something the hero or heroine or other character knows that needs to be discovered. 
Remember great novels, whether thrillers, mysteries or any other work of fiction hooks the reader on the first page and keeps them intrigued until the last. Keep the reader on the edge of their seat by creating complicated characters, emotionally charged scenes and enough conflict to keep them guessing. Every writer knows how important it is to reel the reader in to keep them engaged in the story. Nothing hooks a reader more than stories full of tension, obstacles, conflict and uncertainly. In essence…suspense.
    About the Author

    Annslee Urban grew up watching old-time romance movies, which she attributes to her passion for sweet romance, true love and happy endings. A daydreamer at heart, Mary began her writing journey when the youngest of her five children started school. For several years she worked as a freelance writer for newspapers in her community and has written for magazines and online publications.

    Raised in the foothills of Arizona, she survived temperature shock when she moved to Western Pennsylvania, before setting in North Carolina with her husband and children. Aside from writing, Annslee works part-time as a Registered Nurse in the Behavioral Health field. She is a member of ACFW, and has served as on the board of Carolina Christian Writers.

    When she isn’t writing, Annslee enjoys cooking, traveling to faraway places, playing with grandbabies and all things chocolate!

    You can reach Annslee at: maryannsleeurban@gmail.com
    Smoky Mountain Investigation
    by Annslee Urban

    A mysterious caller taunts journalist Kylie Harper with details about a decade-old death, leading her to a new trail of murder. Who is this deranged person…and what does he want from her?

    Ex-Delta Force captain and Kylie’s former love Nick Bentley fled their Smoky Mountain hometown after the murder of their classmate. When family duty calls him back, Nick comes face-to-face with Kylie…and the past he’s tried to forget. Now Nick must put everything on the line to save Kylie before she becomes the next victim of a madman.

    8 comments:

    1. I love adding misunderstandings between the main characters. The ticking clock is also good. :)

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      1. You are right Sandy. Giving the characters something to resolve before it is too late keeps the readers turning the pages!

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    2. I like the ticking clock. It always makes you wonder, "will they make it?" No matter what genre, you can always use that one.

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      1. Yes, the ticking clock builds suspense and keeps the story moving. A great tactic for any genre!

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    3. Many great tips here--thank you! I'm a big proponent of dropping hints without telling too much. That advice works for any genre. It can be all too tempting to dump everything we know about a character or situation into the first chapter or two. But the fun of reading is the discovery along the way!

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    4. I know I typed a comment this morning, Mary. Don't know what happened to it. I like the ticking clock and conflict between the hero and heroine. Like Myra, I love to add just enough to whet the whistle.

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      1. Duh! I quess I didn't look high enough!

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