Thursday, January 22, 2009

Turning Up the Tension

I blogged over at kidlitcentral about turning up the tension in your novel. Go check it out or just read below. Hope you can get some tips from it.

The first thing agents and editors say they look for on your beginning page is something that keeps them reading. Is it voice, characterization? Maybe. But more than likely that something is tension and conflict. Most readers want the book to begin with signs of trouble then watch how the main character struggles throughout the rest of your story.

These are some ways you can turn up the tension in your writing.
· Start first scene with trouble
· Avoid using flashbacks in beginning
· Use foreshadowing to heighten tension throughout
· Add cliffhangers at end of chapters
· Use short, punchy sentences
· Draw on emotions of all characters
· Let MC have flaws/Antagonist have good qualities
· Use dialogue to allow forward motion of story (don’t allow MC to be alone too often)
· Give MC a secret
· Use setting details to establish mood and tone
· Betray your MC and use suspicion and fear
· When MC is hurting, make it worse (kick them while they’re down)
· Build tension gradually for climax

Increasing your tension keeps your readers happy. Whether they want to scream, slap, or kiss your characters, you’ll be grateful you put the extra effort into it when they’re coming back for more.

Keep writing and learning!

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