I’m usually a bit reluctant about using writing prompts that are offered to a group because of the danger of similarity in stories and because a given prompt may or may not interest me personally. The Wikipedia Prompt Trails approach appeals to me because it offers individually-tailored prompts instead, avoiding both problems.
Archive for the ‘Writing Technique’ Category
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.
I’m surprised quite often how little or ill thought-out the political and economic infrastructure of secondary worlds can be. How the hell do people get food to eat? How do they earn their money? What are their voting rights and what stops people from rising up against their governments?
Remember, the better the opposition, the more tension the reader will feel because a formidable opponent increases the chances in the reader’s mind that the hero will fail.
Display your command of language. It’s worthwhile for a writer to think about poetry, and all its devices like assonance and alliteration, metaphor and allusion, internal rhythm, even meter.
Readers want to hope and fear for a character. To feel this, they must not know what WILL happen, but do need to suspect or know what MIGHT happen and feel tension about the possibilities.
Character and problem by themselves don’t go anywhere. You still have to build reader tension to a sharp point. So how do you do that?
In my last two posts, I identified a number of things that make people and, therefore, characters interesting to us. In this post, I’ll present the last two draws and introduce the next condition for reader suspense.
We cannot help but be interested in characters who are, do, or have things we want. In fact, this is one of the main draws of fiction–experiencing something wonderful or cool, even if it’s vicariously.
In my last two posts I discussed the fact that readers are not going to hope and fear for a character unless that character raises their sympathy and sense of deservingness. But is that enough? Do readers stick around if the characters are utterly boring?