Advice, Writing

Just the Right Amount – Tension in Stories

This is likely to be a short post, mainly because I need to get to bed somewhat early tonight so I can get up early in the morning to get some last minute editing and writing done, but an important one. I want to talk about creating tension in your story.

Tension is that strange bedfellow of conflict (a concept I’ve already discussed at length). Unlike conflict, though, tension can exist on every single page. With conflict, you need to be able to take a breather. Tension, however, drives your story and keeps your readers engaged. It doesn’t have to be in bright red, blaring letters, but tension lives and breathes in every word and scene in a good story. Whether it’s your character’s fears of not solving a mystery, or the pause before a battle where your characters are wondering if they’ll make it to the next day, or the long, drawn out moment when Dr. Frank N Furter lets us know he can see us shiver in antici…pation, tension is integral to keeping your audience engaged.

I’ll talk about some tried and true methods for creating tension in a story, as well as my personal thoughts on tension.