Monday, July 27, 2009

Keep the suspense

Suspense is a tough thing to master. It is certainly necessary for a mystery.

The paranormal, also, lends itself to a certain degree of suspense.

Just the unknown makes things a little suspenseful, doesn't it?

I certainly enjoy suspense. If I didn't, I don't think I'd read as veraciously as I do -- especially since most of what I read are mysteries. And I certainly wouldn't write mysteries if I didn't enjoy the suspense aspect.

So how do you combine the two? How can suspense and the paranormal work together?

I think there is a tendency to let the paranormal be the suspense, and that doesn't work so well for me. I need my suspense to have an element of realism. Well, it needs to have the realism that works in that particular "world." Authors must follow the rules of the world they create. Sorry, anything else doesn't work for me.

So if your characters always do A, they can't do B just for the suspense value. It doesn't work! But, if you need to add suspense to your novel, how do you do it? I'm a firm believer of letting characters determine their course of action -- to a certain point at any rate. (As long as the author knows where the characters should end up, that is... but that's a whole other topic!)

I have no tips on writing suspense (hence the crazy rambling this morning!), but I know it's important. I know it's needed to keep readers interested in the novel.

It's a trick I'm working on perfecting.


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