Posts Tagged ‘creating suspense’

Lee Child signing at Bouchercon 2009 in Indian...

In a recent post in The New York Times, Lee Child writes about the nature of suspense and how he approaches creating the narrative space into which he builds suspense within his writing.

According to Lee Child, the very question: “How do you create suspense?” is inherently a clumsy one – it is unhelpful, misleading and is posed in the interrogatory mode. He goes on to explain:

But it’s really much simpler than that. “How do you bake a cake?” has the wrong structure. It’s too indirect. The right structure and the right question is: “How do you make your family hungry?”

And the answer is: You make them wait four hours for dinner.

As novelists, we should ask or imply a question at the beginning of the story, and then we should delay the answer.

In summary, the tools a writer uses to create suspense are questions posed at the beginning of the narrative: it’s about using the “whats, whos, and hows” effectively. These questions intrigue the reader and makes him/her want to read more, to turn the page and chase down the answers to these questions.

To read more about this, you can visit the article, posted here.

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