[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]
Writing suspense is an art to be learned: The promise of danger, a rise in tension to keep the goal from the main character, and then embedding these pieces with just the right mix of action to generate empathy and concern for the main character. The task is more difficult to show than I’d imagined, but enjoyable all the same.
Then of course, there always has to be an end, a switch from tension to resolution. The reader wants to be surprised. The writer wants them to have an emotional investment by the end. The main character must fight harder than ever to go for the goal and step up to be the hero all by herself. Lots and lots of promises have been made to the reader by this point through the suspense. In the past, I’d forgotten to tie up a few really great promises. I remember a previous draft where I’d added a great piece of tension of a missing captain on a ship and created a fear about the ocean in the main character, but then I forgot to go back and solve the captain’s disappearance. I thought, I’ll get to it in the next book, but my beta reading friends didn’t seem to like that answer one bit.
Now that I face the ending once again, I’m biting my own nails and wondering if I’ve accomplished all the pieces I’ve meant to accomplish. I’ve been reviewing tips and articles across the web to help me. Now I’m struggling to stop with the suspense and I can’t seem to end it. 🙂
Ever been there? You’ve thought through the book? You’ve faced the beginning of the end? And in facing the end you’re almost scared to tie it all up?
I have a tip I’ve been pondering.
When facing the resolution and wrapping up all the promises, does the goal escalate and complicate for the main character so the reader feels something so strong, they can’t put the book down?
It’s sort of haunting me. Yes, my character has grown. She’s stepped up to the plate with a solid bat in her hands. With loaded bases, two strikes on the board, will she swing for that home run? Will she try to walk? No matter the choice on that base, I realize she has to try to save the day, and she is the only one who can do that task, free the team to take the plate and score, too. It has to be shocking for my genre, and I know I must stay a step ahead of the reader because I really don’t want the story to be predictable.
In any case, I’ve been struggling to tie up one last promise. It’s jostled one action sequence in the resolution. I’m so close. I know I have the right ending. Now I just have to finish it.
My question: Do you find the Suspense or the End harder to write?
I’d love to here your struggle.
And, I decided to leave you with a picture of my cat Maverick. It relates. He’s taught me so much about the art of suspense. I’m hoping to pull a post together all about the way to hook his interest.
Thank you for stopping in today.