Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Questions for Tension

What am I reading now?  Unspoken (Sarah Rees Brennan, The Lynburn Legacy #1)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far? I laughed and laughed as this story developed. You know by now that a book with great voice is a keeper for me. This one is hits that mark and adds a fun twisty plot. Another great author (with more books and other series) to add to your list of must reads!

Kami Glass has an imaginary friend, Jared. He's been there as long as she can remember, just a voice in her head. She's really never had to be alone. She knows all of his thoughts and he knows hers. Until he's not just a thought but a complete body; blond hair, broad shoulders and a dangerous sense of adventure--which she shares. Which is lucky for her since she wants to be a star reporter. She drags Jared and a few other friends through plans and felonies (and misdemeanors) as she searches for the mysteries in a town she thought she knew everything about. Turns out--she knew nothing--and that could cost her life.

Building Tension Through Questions

I'm looking at some ways to build tension in my stories. Here's the first one I'll share.

Decide what the overall book question is going to be for your story. The is the overall premise you are writing to achieve. For my current WIP it is:

Will 17 yo Cassie Witlon earn amnesty from Hell in the next 20 days?

Then as you plan or revise each scene decide what questions you can plant for the readers to be motivated to learn the answer to. Here are some more I'm using:

Will Cassie beat the deadline?
Will Cassie escape?
Will Cassie get distracted from her purpose?

I know these are a little cryptic but they become more detailed as I write the scenes. I need one question for each scene. Some authors describe this step as making sure your scenes have a "purpose" or a "goal". It's just a little easier for me to think in terms of answering a question.

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