Is ice better than snow? I don’t think so, but that’s what this Monday has brought to Central PA. There is a certain beauty in ice as it glistens on the trees and shimmers on the mountains, but don’t let me drive in it. It’s a good day to write. So let’s get on with it!
First of all, I’m trying some new things with the website. I eliminated from this site’s navigation two pages – Featured Excerpts and This Week’s Question. I want to replace them with pages of interest for you, so let me ask you (and please contribute and let me know what you think in the comments or personally email me), what would you like to see on these pages? Give me as much input as possible.
Secondly, I’m really not about making money from my writing. It’s more important to me to get out my message, so I’ve done something totally ridiculous. Everything, and I mean everything on the Books and Resources page has been reduced to $1.00. That includes shipping and the cost of publishing itself is much more than that. So you see, I just want to get good things in your hands. There are many books and courses to choose from including the MVOWC 13-week one-on-one attention. But you must order from this website to get the deal. It’s not available elsewhere. And of course, there are no strings attached. Now, I can’t get more ridiculous than that, so take advantage of it now through the end of February.
Now, how about some practical writing tips? We all want our readers to ask the question, what happens next? If they don’t ask the question, in one form or another, the page will never be turned.
Most of my fiction would be classified as thriller/mystery. Thrillers demand suspense, but whether that is your genre or not, a certain degree of suspense should always be included to keep the pages turning. So how do we build suspense? How do we get the reader to say, “What happens next?” Let me give you some things to think about.
1. Deadlines for your characters are always a good way to build suspense. A time crunch naturally adds tension to the plot. It may be something as simple as running to the store to get milk before the store closes – or you can up the stakes with something like a bomb ready to detonate in three minutes. Heighten the tension by putting obstacles in your character’s way as he/she races to beat the clock.
2. Use ultimatums. Ultimatums can be tied to deadlines but also can be used to show your character under emotional stress. Consider the plight of a housewife whose husband is involved in an adulterous affair. She tells him he must break off the relationship, but she is giving him three days to do it – or else. Build the emotional stress of both the husband and wife as the deadline calling for an ultimatum grows closer.
3. Consider switching the POV. Not all stories are meant to have more than one point of view, but others may be open to varied POV’s. The trick is to bring a different POV in at a critical time in the story. This helps to build the tension you are seeking. I’m attempting to use this technique in my newest project, The Marisol Deception. Television series use it regularly. Notice it the next time you curl up with a cup of cocoa and your favorite TV show.
4. Use short, choppy sentences. This achieves two things. Think how someone might talk when under stress. Usually the sentences are short and maybe to some degree, incoherent. They may actually have trouble speaking the words. But that’s not all. Not only do short, choppy sentences help to build the suspense, but it also keeps the pages turning. The sentences are easier to read which allows the reader to read more in a shorter period of time. The suspense that is built will ask the question, what happens next?
Just some things to think about on this Monday. See you next week, and don’t forget to give me some feedback regarding what kind of information you’d like to see here. Until then . .