Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Week 24: Tension
This past week, Mother Nature illustrated what WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL WORKBOOK, by Donald Maass, focuses on in the twenty-fourth lesson: tension.
The entire nation has been glued to the television, watching Gustav. First a tropical storm far out at sea, the swirling mass slowly and steadily took shape, gained strength and methodically cut a path toward New Orleans. Collectively, we held our breath in anticipation. Tension was high, then climbed higher as America braced for the killer storm. Of course, the story didn’t end with landfall. Hanna now follows with Ike and Josephine close behind.
If Maass stopped by today’s blog, he’d probably say something about following Mother Nature’s lead. According to Maass, “Tension on every page is the secret of great storytelling.” But breathtaking suspense that builds as a killer storm threatens the coast of the United States or that in suspense novels sends chills up our spines isn’t the only form of tension. Equally as effective is the subtle tension woven into dialogue or revealed through introspection that keeps the story moving forward and the reader turning the page in anticipation no matter the genre.
I’m in the midst of rewriting my fifth story, PROTECTION HER CHILD. The story revolves around a woman on the run. Lots of action. Lots of suspense. Today, I’ll be flipping through the manuscript, doing a double check and ensuring I’ve built tension into every turn. Then I’ll add more.
Tension tightens our stories. Now go tighten yours by upping the tension on every page.
Wishing you abundant blessings!
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