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Bad to Worse to Impending Disaster: Escalating tension creates suspense

Simple but very effective

JC Gatlin - Author

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We all know that suspense builds as danger approaches. Expanding on that concept, a suspenseful story puts characters that the reader cares about in jeopardy. It makes for a great scene or, even better, a page-turning chapter.

Now, to create suspense in the novel as a whole, the author must gradually turn-up the heat. There’s an arc that leads the plot upwards on the Bad to Worse to Impending Disaster escalator. So, if the Princess is abducted in Act 1 (Bad), then the hero must risk his life to save her in Act 2 (Worse), until finally the entire Kingdom may fall if they don’t return in time in Act 3 (Impending Disaster). If the tension doesn’t escalate, the book will run out of steam.

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Tension doesn’t always have to be bloody life or death scenarios though. Depending on the genre, suspense can just as easily build through emotional, romantic…

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  1. #1 by suecoletta on February 1, 2015 - 12:08 am

    Thanks for introducing me to a new blog. I love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • #2 by David J Delaney on February 1, 2015 - 10:48 am

      It’s a great blog I’ve been following for a while now. J C posts some really good stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

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