TensionSubmitted by Cassie Anderson on Mon, 11/30/2015 - 5:05pm
One of the biggest struggles as a writer is to set up tension. Everything in a story revolves around tension. Romance, horror, and character development – all of these things have tension and a great deal of it. So if it’s the basis of nearly every story’s true element, then why is it so hard to create, especially for amateurs like myself? Maybe it’s because sometimes we move through things too quickly, we’re so excited to show the world our story and this character we built, with merely our hands and our keyboards and our minds that our emotion gets in the way and everything is just put on paper but it’s a mess. Maybe we give answers to questions away too soon, and it’s all just kind of there out in the open, even if we didn’t mean for that to happen. A lot of times if we’re not careful these things can happen without us even thinking about it. Tension is important, so it’s important as writers that we try to create it as best as we can.
Rachel Scheller talks more on this topic in the article "Tighten the Tension in Your Novel" in Writer’s Digest:
It doesn’t matter what kind of book you’re writing or who your characters are—a story is feelings. The more that’s at stake for your character, the more emotions he feels about events and situations. If you’ve set up your character for a big problem, you’re ready to fire it at him. Internal and external conflict and character motivation must be in place to create tension. If you want a specific reaction, set up a scene or a motivation to induce it.
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