BY NANCY KAY CLARK
editor/publisher by CommuterLit
Copyright is held by the author.
To increase pace, tension and suspense, try these structural techniques:
• eliminate as much backstory as possible — remember backstory slows the pace
• jump cut back and forth from different points of view or scenes (a shot of the oncoming train, a shot of the damsel tied to the tracks, back to the train now closer, back to the hero trying to free the damsel)
• keep scenes and/or chapters short
• let readers know something your protagonist doesn’t
• prolong outcomes for your characters by continually putting obstacles in their way
• and craft cliffhanger chapter endings.
How to write action scenes
Trying to write a do-or-die action sequence that leaves your readers breathless, shocked and wanting more? To increase pace, tension and suspense use:
• short paragraphs and sentences (or fragments)
• the active voice
• concrete words and onomatopoeia
• crisp and punchy verbs
• harsh consonant sounds
• and pared down speech;
• dialogue attributions
• descriptions (except for the most telling details)
• prepositional phrases
• and linking verbs.
You can also increase pace and tension through structural choices — which I’ll cover next time.