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Friday, July 19, 2013

Writing Extravaganza Post 4 - Guess you'll have to read and find out...

Today, I am happy to present to you the fourth guest poster for our Writing Extravaganza "series," if you will. Oksana Carlier is here to write about something. I guess you'll have to keep reading to find out what...

I have extremely limited time to write this post. If I don't finish it in time, you can decide what you think I was trying to say because it will not be complete.

Half-posts aren't really my style so I am going to do my best to finish this.

My topic is...well, it's not essential knowledge at this point in time. You don't need that information (although if you are a true follower of Dahl's blog, you might know from one of his recent posts).

What I'm talking about today can be created in many ways. It often shows up in action, crime, and mystery novels but is certainly not limited to one of the three.

It is something that keeps a reader reading not only while they are lounging, but also when they go to get a snack or walk downstairs or empty the dishwasher.

What is my topic, you ask?

Are you sure you want to know? Really quite sure?

My topic is suspense! Although, you probably won't truly comprehend my secrets of suspense until you finish reading my post.

Suspense can be created in a few ways.

A. Dialogue. One character might have a question they want answered but the other character is decidedly trying to avoid answering. The reasons behind the question and lack of answer can get quite complicated but the reader will want to know the answer right along with the character and will keep on reading.

B. Action. I can describe a form of this in one short line. Who will win the war and who will die for their cause?

C. Hints. Let your character be nervous or excited for an upcoming camping trip, but don't explain why they are so excited or nervous. Hint around the edges of your sentences about how something will be different this time but don't say exactly what. For example, tell the reader that an old friend will be camping with them but don't say how your character knows them but rather show how emotional your character gets about them.

While I think dialogue, action, and hints are a great way to generate suspense, I would humbly say that suspense really does come down to one main idea: letting the reader know that something exciting is going to happen but not telling them what.

Whew! I managed to finish my post on time!

Oksana Carlier has been writing stories, blogs and to-do lists for too many years. She enjoys putting her mind to work to capture truths about the world in her writing. She blogs over at livetidbits.wordpress.com.

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