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.
Posts Tagged ‘John D. Brown’
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.