Along every step of the way, readers need to be surprised, not about everything, but about enough of the particularities of the problem, character, actions, reactions, and resolution that it prevents the reader from knowing what WILL happen.
Archive for the ‘Advice for New Writers’ Category
The board of directors of SFWA voted to add the magazine Bull Spec to the list of SFWA qualifying markets.
Our job as writers is to create a narrative that evokes this desired experience in the reader. Yes, we have to be passionate about our story. Yes, it’s an art and is complex and sometimes feels a bit mystical. But we can’t let that make us forget the fact that the ultimate purpose of the story is to guide the reader through an experience.
The times they are a-changing, the question of when will probably be answered after the next Christmas season as ebooks emerge at minimum as a major market force, over 20% of book sales is a conservative guess, so the answer to that one is soon.
Even in the reaction stage we can include conflict and surprise. Maybe after our team’s setback, they regroup and discuss what they’re going to do now. This is a fine time to allow the varying motives of those on the hero’s team conflict.
The books I love most immerse me in a world utterly different from my own. Arrakis, Pern, Barrayar, Chalion… I crave deep information about these planets, and fortunately the author always delivered.
We solve all sorts of problems on the first or second try in real life. We keep tension down. But with stories we don’t want to eliminate tension. We want to build it.
Want other people to feel inclined to spread word of your stuff? Then make sure you’re doing it for them.
Let’s say water starts dripping out of the light fixture right above your kitchen table. Maybe the wiring in the light starts to spark. What do you do?
Key Conditions for Suspense:
Part 13 – Make the problem hard to solve
with growing troubles & surprise
The moment you solve all the problems in the story, the story is over because the readers have nothing more to worry about. Troubles allow the story to progress and grow.