Welcome. Today I have Sara Foster, author of the brilliant new release All That is Lost Between Us, stopping by one her last stop of what has been a phenomenal blog tour. As an expert on writing great works of suspense, Sara is here today to share a few tips.
Writing Nail Biting Suspense by Sara Foster
1. Read and learn from the masters. Daphne du Maurier and Susan Hill are two great suspense storytellers that immediately spring to mind. If I get stuck with writing I’ll often think of a book I admire and have a quick read for inspiration.
2. In suspense, every chapter should add in some new point of tension. Feed your reader interesting and exciting tidbits, and hopefully they will follow the trail all the way to the end.
3. Description should be kept relevant and succinct, so the pace doesn’t slow down too much.
4. Don’t let your characters do too many everyday things for too long – sleep, eat, etc. – unless they are integral to the scene.
5. When you want lots of tension, play with short choppy sentences. They can give a breathless quality to the story, which is exciting. Just don’t overdo it.
6. Read over and re-edit your first chapter about 100 times more than any other chapter. It’s your foundation; it’s got to be the strongest it can be. If readers aren’t gripped in this chapter they may not carry on, no matter how exciting things get later.
7. Try to end each chapter with something surprising, or an interesting hint of what might happen next. Think about what will make it really hard for a reader to put your book down?
8. Know more about your characters than you put in your story. Write lots about them, even if it doesn’t all end up in your final draft. It will help you to flesh them out and get to know them.
9. Use everything in the landscape and surroundings of your story to add tension. If you want comfortable, the sun is enjoyable. If you want tension, the sun will burn.
10. Be unpredictable. Don’t always go for your first idea when you’re thinking about plotting, ask yourself what you can do to make it better or add more of a twist. One of the great joys of reading suspense fiction is being genuinely surprised when something unexpected happens.
Thank you Sara for some great tips. If you liked this post, don't forget to swing by the other stops in this blog tour.
All That is Lost Between Us is published by Simon and Schuster Australia. Read my review here.