Tag Archive - tension

3 Ways to Test the Tension and Pacing in Your Scenes

This week editor Linda Clare continues our look into Fatal Flaw #7—Lack of Pacing and Tension. Infusing our fiction with strong pacing and gripping tension has much to do with leaving out boring bits and keeping readers riveted to compelling characters. It’s not just about plot.

Last week editor Rachel Starr Thomson introduced our month’s look at Fatal Flaw #7 —Lack of Pacing and Tension, and we saw how the choice of words and rhythm of sentences can affect pacing and tension.

This week, let’s take a look at the ways pacing and tension play out at the scene level. Your first draft may contain lots of unnecessary scenes. But when you revise, test your draft against these three points when deciding if a scene should stay or be cut (or reworked).

Five Easy Plot Points

Whether you’re a plotter or a pantster, there will come a time when you need to be sure you maintain tension in the story by identifying the five most important scenes in the entire story. These scenes are often called PLOT POINTS—scenes that radically alter the course of the story.

If you aren’t sure how to identify a plot-point scene, you might try writing one summary sentence for each scene in your story. I have counseled my students to use three-by-five cards or sticky notes, to enable them to string the story in a timeline, then stand back to see the way the story moves. When you see the forest instead of the trees, you get a better idea of the pacing and tension. Continue Reading…

How Fiction Writers Can Ramp Up Tension and Pacing

This month our editors are going to tackle Fatal Flaw #7—Lack of Pacing and Tension. Rarely are fiction writers taught how to pace a story or how to create tension. These two important components are essential considerations, and it’s often easy to spot when a story or a novel’s scene lacks them. But not so easy to know how to fix the problems. So Rachel Scott Thomson begins our practical look at fixing this fatal flaw.

Pacing. It’s important. You know how sometimes you can’t put a book down—how the pages turn all by themselves as your heart rate speeds up and your eyes get wider and the book gets closer and closer to your nose?

Yeah, pacing does that. Books that use pacing really well—thriller novels and their kin—leave us feeling like we need a nap. Or therapy. Continue Reading…

Ramping Tension to the Max in Your Novel

I hope I don’t need to tell you why you need tension in your novel. If I do, then I suggest you stop reading this post and spend some time reading some writing craft books and blog posts on novel structure. I don’t mean to be snarky here; this is sage advice. Too many manuscripts come across my desk completely void of tension. However, I assume that the reason is the writer just has no idea how to create tension on every page—which is what a writer should aim for.

Every page? Is that possible. Yes, it is. And as an author, I work hard toward that goal—to keep up a continual sense of tension, which creates anticipation and interest on the reader’s part. Continue Reading…

Page 3 of 3«123