Story Development and Execution Part 7: Pacing, Tension, and Suspense

Story Empire

Ciao, SEers. Today is part seven: pacing, tension, and suspense. Craig has written a couple of great posts on tension (one and two), and I have a post on structure that flirts with the concept of pacing. This post will deal with how to use these elements to advance the story.

One technique that gets readers invested immediately and brings tension to the forefront is to start with a loss. It doesn’t have to be a death, though that is an extreme loss. It can be anything that puts the character in a deficit from his status quo. He got fired. His wife left him. His dog ran away. His apartment building is turning into condos and he can’t afford to buy one. He broke his leg the day before the rodeo. Any loss is a loss. The kind of loss helps establish genre. What he does…

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