Guest post at Jungle Red Writers: 5 Ways to Kill Suspense

Over at Jungle Red Writers, I’ve written an article about how not to create suspense.

Suspense is vital to storytelling. It keeps readers turning pages, desperate to learn what happens next. As a building block of drama, it’s as old as literature itself—Aristotle said suspense consists of having some real danger looming and a ray of hope.

The word comes from the Latin suspendere—to hang up—and writers are the hangmen. We keep readers dangling. But if we do it wrong, we kill the story.

Here are five surefire ways to do that.

1. Sacrifice tension for surprise.

For the rest of the scoop, head on over to read the whole thing: Five Ways to Kill Suspense.

Bonus #1: Find out how Hank Philippi Ryan and I met.

Bonus #2: They’re giving away not only a copy of Ransom River, but of Hank’s upcoming and already-lauded mystery, The Other Woman.

Bonus #3: Stick around over there and join the conversation about your favorite moments of suspense in books and movies.

What are you waiting for?

3 responses to “Guest post at Jungle Red Writers: 5 Ways to Kill Suspense

  1. Hey Meg, great article! I have a quick question re: #1 – Alfred Hitchcock’s quote: “…an audience experiences suspense when they expect something bad to happen and know more than the characters do—but can’t intervene to stop it.” I know this to be true, but how do I do it when my WIP is in 1stPOV?

    • Good question, AJ. To answer it thoroughly will take a separate blog post. Very short answer: hints of menace, rumors, other characters warning the protagonist of danger… questions unanswered, clues found that seem mysterious and frightening… hate mail, gunshots in the night…

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