If we create suspense and sustain tension during the plotting and drafting stages, then we save truckloads of time on revisions.
- Keep the story goal and central conflict front and centre, with a hint at the start of each scene, so readers remember what matters most deeply to our point of view character.
- Within the parameters of genre, establish that anything can happen. If the author has something unthinkable happen at the start, within the genre’s context, that raises the tension. Readers never feel a hopeful young squire is safe just because he’s young and hopeful. See the first scene of George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones.
- Remove tension killers. Capote said, “I believe more in the scissors than in the pen.” Check ends of scenes and chapters, make sure there’s no sentence that seems to finish things off.
If you enjoy Mel Anastasiou’s writing tips, you might try her pocket-sized writing guide The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume. Motivates, organizes, encourages, inspires.
From Pulp Literature Press