How Do Authors Create Suspense?

One of the most important elements of any work of fiction is suspense. Suspense is what keeps readers turning the page, desperately wanting to find out what happens next. But how do authors create this feeling of suspense? There are a few secrets to creating and sustaining suspense in a story. Below are some of them.

6 Key Elements to Remember When Writing a Suspenseful Tale

Establish what the stakes are early on.

The reader needs to know what’s at stake for the protagonist from the very beginning. What is this character fighting for? What are the consequences if they fail? The higher the stakes, the more suspenseful the story will be. This is because the reader will be more invested in the outcome if they believe that there is a lot riding on it.

Keep the story moving forward.

A suspenseful story is one that is always moving forward. There should be no lulls or downtime for the reader to get bored. Every scene should advance the plot in some way and raise the stakes even higher. It’s important to keep the momentum going so that the reader doesn’t have a chance to put the book down.

Introduce new complications regularly.

As the story progresses, compli­cations should be introduced to keep things interesting. These can be external forces that are working against the protagonist or internal issues that the character is struggling with. Either way, these complications should make it more difficult for the character to achieve their goal, ratcheting up the suspense.

Build tension throughout the story.

Tension is what makes a reader feel on edge and eager to find out what happens next. It can be created in a number of ways, such as by raising the stakes, introducing new complications, or building on existing ones. In order to sustain suspense, the tension needs to be constantly ratcheted up as the story progresses.

Create a sense of urgency.

Urgency is what compels the reader to keep turning the page. It’s the feeling that something big is about to happen and you don’t want to miss it. This can be created in a number of ways, such as by having the protagonist be in a race against the clock or by making the stakes incredibly high.

Write scenes that are packed with action.

Action-packed scenes are always suspenseful because they contain a high level of tension. These scenes should be full of conflict and move the story forward in a big way. They should also be well-written so that the reader is pulled into the action and feels like they’re right there in the thick of it.

Suspense is an important element of any work of fiction. By keeping these 6 key elements in mind, you can ensure that your story is full of suspense and will keep your readers hooked until the very end.