Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Ramp Up Tension

Has the interest thread on your novel slackened? Does your novel suffer from "middle age syndrome" by sagging in the middle? Here's a few tips for tightening it.

1) Beat the Clock: Add a challenge with an expiration date.

2) Betrayal: a friend becomes a foe.

3) Danger: Introduce elements that put characters at risk of harm.

3) Flashbacks: Memories that add snippets of knowledge crucial to a better understanding of the character and his past that will also impact his present and/or future.

4) Foreshadowing: Throw out shadows of approaching trouble.

5) Frustrate the Goal: Keep it out of your character's reach.

6) Raise the Bar/Stakes/Personal Involvement: The more bigger the goal, the harder your character will try to attain it, and the more readers will root for him.

7) Revelation: New information or comprehension that changes a character's or plot's course.

8) Rivalry: Have two characters bid for the same prize.

9) Threaten a Loved One: And make your character fight to save him.

10) Subtext: Implication adds mystery and draws the reader in.

11) The Unknown: Keep your character (and your readers) guessing.

12) Villains: Add one or more to challenge your character and give him something to fight against, even if the villain is simply the "man in the mirror."

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