How to Create Suspense and Tension

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How to Create Suspense and Tension Literary suspense and tension are essential elements in any story, both in fiction and some genres of non-fiction. Several elements are needed to create and maintain the suspense in a piece of writing, such as the reader’s concern and empathy, looming danger, and building of tension throughout the story. Each element plays an important role and is a necessary part of a well-devised plot. Suspense and tension begin and end with the character. The reader must first know what the main character desires, which means the writer must supply this information from the start. Does the main character need adventure, romance, freedom? What is holding him back from reaching what he desires, and what are the consequences if he cannot reach his goal? Both internal and external conflict is required, and suspense can only build when the character’s physical, psychological, spiritual, relational, and/or emotional wellness is threatened. After these key points are established, a foundation can be laid for suspense and tension. One way of maintaining tension is saying ‘no’ to your character. Whatever he wants, continue to withhold it from him. Gratification releases tension rather than building it. Constant change feeds tension. New challenges, new information, and more complications drive tension, keeping the reader invested in the character’s plight. Immediate explanation isn’t necessary when adding these unexpected changes. Those details can be added
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