Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Danger, Emotion, And Suspense

Good Morning All,

Our fellow blogger (and follower of this blog and literally a "fellow" or as us Southerners say, "fella"), Bane, wrote something about emotion on his post yesterday. (Incidentally enough, he gets a shout out for that post, it was entertaining and informative. I liked it!)

Todd Stone says put your hero/heroine in danger. This increases the suspense, emotion and overall encouraging your readers to care about your characters.

Of course, depending on your genre this can mean different things:

Mysteries it could be that your sleuthing hero/heroine finds themselves finding out someone closest to them is the bad guy. I remember one time when I was reading one of Laura Childs' Tea Shop Mystery book (the first one in the series, this was the first time I had read any of her work) I thought maybe Delaine Dish was the one who committed the crime, but she was innocent. (By the way, if you like "cozies" her books are awesome. She's also incredibly nice and gave me some very helpful information more than once).

For action it could be your hero/heroine being held at gun point:

John Girsham often has suspense mounting by having his hero/heroine being chased by the bad guys because that person has something the bad guys don't want revealed. (The Partner anyone? Or The Runaway Jury?)

I don't know a whole lot about horror except that I've heard you never want the characters to open a door and then they do it and on the other side of the door is the monster.

For Romance, it can be the sexual tension between the hero and the heroine, or it can be one of them fighting against a mounting attraction (like Delaney is doing in Conjure A Man)

How do you keep up the danger, emotion and/or suspense in your own writing?

For me, I keep having a sense of danger or conflict getting in the way of complete happiness for my characters. Things that keep them wondering if what they're doing is the right thing, until, finally they make the decision one way or another. Of course, being about happily-ever-after I can't forget to resolve that conflict.

Anyway, your turn to answer the question. :-)

Have A Wondrous Wednesday!


Bane of Anubis said...

Thanks for the shout out, Bethany :)... This fella doesn't particularly up the danger... I just try to keep it constantly flowing; hopefully, I achieve some of this through pacing and another part of this through mystery (i.e., putting the reader in the protag's shoes -- a protag who doesn't know everything that's happening).

PS - there are monsters behind my door -- though they open the door themselves :).

bethanyintexas said...


You're welcome. Yeah, that's another way raising the suspense.

As to the monsters, I hope you're well protected LOL :-D

Marsha Sigman said...

I hope I have raised enough suspense in my wip but I intend to really work on that after I finish the first draft. I have to make sure it consistently flows. I think the trick is not to let all your cards show...keep a few surprises hidden. And this is also a question of pace, correct? Have to make sure the pace is where it needs to be.

bethanyintexas said...


Exactly :-)