Happy New Year!
For the last few months, I’ve been talking about writing your novel using scenes. Writing your novel one scene at a time will make you a more productive writer and a better writer.
So let’s jump into it.
We want our stories to have enough conflict and tension to keep the reader turning the page. Tension is exciting and the anticipation of the outcome for the reader is what keeps them reading, and keeps you selling books. Tension is good.
Remember that if your scene has no tension then it will be boring and boring is bad. Each of your scenes must have some tension. The tension can be created through multiple channels such as character action, setting, and dialogue. It can also be generated through plot twists and foreshadowing.
So how do you create tension?
- Make your character fail.
- Don’t let your characters accomplish their goals.
- Create a plot twist.
- Add emotion to the scene.
- Get your character in trouble.
- Make things go wrong.
- Use foreshadowing to let your character feel uneasy about what they think might happen. And then let the worst possible thing happen.
- Reveal something unexpected to your character.
The main point is that you want to make it hard for your characters to do whatever it is that they want to do. If you review your scene before and after your write it, and you make sure that whatever can possibly go wrong will go wrong, you have succeeded in adding tension to your story.
There are also other ways to increase tension.
Condense time. If nothing happens for three days in your story and you planned to show your characters sitting around eating bon bons, don’t. That would be boring and boring is bad. Condense time.
Condense information. If the narrator tends to drone on with unimportant detail, condense that information to only that which is pertinent to the story. The information may be interesting to you, but if it doesn’t move the story forward why are you writing it? Condense information.
Think up creative ways to add tension to each scene and you will create a thrilling novel for your reader to devour and that is a good thing.
Next wee: More on writing scenes.