JM Williams

A home for all things fantasy and sci-fi.

REBLOG: A Crash Course In Suspense


Victor has some good points here about building suspense. Particularly in fantasy and action, suspense is vital to keeping the reader engaged. Readers do not want to given everything easily, suspense is emotion and emotion is why people read.

As Victor suggests, foreshadowing is a good tool for building suspense. Letting the reader know something is coming. But you don’t want to reveal too much. There’s a delicate balance between making it visible enough for the reader, but not letting on about the meaning to early.

I would add that slowing your prose is a good method for building tension. Once you have a danger present, you can add a few extra lines to stretch out the resolution. It leaves the reader wondering what will happen, leaves them begging for the result. I often do this by focusing on the character’s breathing or feeling, getting a bit stuck in the drama and fear, before letting the situation resolve. It doesn’t take much, just two or three sentences, but the impact can be significant.

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