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How to Create and Increase Suspense in Plot

Editorial Staff

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Every story benefits form some level of suspense. The plot basically relies on it. Whether you are writing a literary, commercial fiction, character-driven story, or plot-driven story, there is a lot of room for suspense and there are many ways to create and increase suspense in plot. Structure, plot, and even the style of writing can all increase tension and suspense.

Wondering how to create and increase suspense in plot? Follow these tips:

Give Your Characters a Deadline

This is one of the most common ways to add suspense in plot. It is even taught in online tuition classes in Singapore. A deadline automatically adds urgency and uncertainty to a plot. It introduces the probability that the characters in the story may run out of time to perform the objectives. Deadlines usually vary both in nature and scale, from preventing a home from going into foreclosure to rushing to the supermarket for grocery before it completely closes. No matter the occasion, a timeline adds suspense to the plot and gives natural tension. As a creative writer, it is your job to use this to your advantage by adding various challenges and obstacles in your main character’s way. As the deadline creeps closer, the uncertainty will increase suspense.

Introduce an Ultimatum

Ultimatums are generally considered the same as deadlines but they also carry additional emotional dimension as they arise from character conflict. Introducing an ultimatum in your plot is a great way to create suspense and tension. Get creative with them. They can take the form of a partner demanding accommodations in order to continue the partnership or neighbor threatening to report over unmowed grass. Combine the ultimatum with a deadline, you will complicate the relationship between certain characters of your story, increasing the tension.

Switch Point of View

Another way to ramp up suspense is to switch point of view at a critical moment. By keeping the audience in the dark about what happens next, you automatically increase suspense in the plot. Consequences/fallout of a dramatic scene are usually seen immediately in a single-POV story. In a multi-POV story on the other hand, you can shift the perspective to something else – perhaps relating to the information that increases the risk factor on the said consequences – before switching back to the main character.

Shorten Your Sentences

Varied sentence structure is the sign of a solid writing. You can learn to incorporate such structure in your writing by taking creative writing classes or even taking the very useful economics tuition lessons from The Economics Tutor.  This structure also changes the mood and rhythm of the scene. Shorter sentences are also useful when it comes to speeding the pace of the plot. They are easier to read and encourage your readers to read that one more page (that follows another page) before putting the book down. The type of suspense and tension created by this technique results in a kind of pace that keeps the pages turning.

This is how you can create and increase suspense even in a simple plot and turn it into a unique one that maintains the interest of your readers and indulge them in the story.

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