Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Key Elements Of Suspense

Any mystery and suspense writer knows that creating suspense is not easy. There are many key elements to doing it correctly. You need to get the audience’s attention but the best type of suspense is the less obvious and most subtle.

It can take years of writing and research to really understand the art of suspense.  Once you have it down it becomes second nature. 

There are tips I incorporate in my own books to bring suspense to the next level. I’ve outlined them below. Hopefully it will put those seeking input on this subject at ease.

Spine-tingling Tension:

Tension is the number one element of suspense. You have to have tension and plenty of it. Tension forces the reader to feel the story. It brings out different emotions and reactions. Tension can cause anxiety, excitement, shock, anything. It’s the driving force when it comes to readers turning the pages. Without tension, you cannot have suspense.

Compelling Villain/Antagonist:

You must take time crafting your villain. He or she must be a real person and not just a model of cliché’s. Villains should be three-dimensional, unique and dominating. Dynamic villains keep readers wanting more. A villain should never be just bad. The best villains are those who make us care about them.

Gripping Dialogue:

Dialogue is a wonderful way to increase tension and heighten suspense. It’s a great form of showing versus telling and it gets readers involved. You can reveal characters’ personalities using dialogue much better than telling it to the reader. Dialogue is also a great way to let the reader see another side of a character. It’s not always in the words the character says, but how they say them.

Fascinating Twists:

You must keep readers on their toes. If something becomes too obvious then you’ve failed. You never wanna be obvious when writing suspense. The audience should never know what’s about to hit them before you unleash it. Raise the stakes as you go along. Just when your audience has had a moment to breathe, hit them with a twist they never saw coming.
Thanks for checking out the post, everyone!  My new release, The Season of Sin is available now in paperback and ebook. Check it out!

About the book:
Detective Brianna “Bree” Morris and her partner and ex-lover Steven Kemp are back. This time they are thrown head first into a gruesome homicide that brings forth as many secrets as it does clues.

Brianna’s psychiatrist, Dr. Nadia Hollister is stabbed to death in her upstairs bathroom. Brianna, who is at Nadia’s while the murder happens, is the only witness. Unfortunately she was knocked unconscious by the killer and only has the memory of the killer’s scent to go on.  Brianna and Steven sign on to help Homicide Detective Jayce Matthews solve the case. With Nadia’s journals as her guide, Bree learns that Nadia was keeping a devastating secret that has something to do with her adopted daughter. The renowned doctor was not whom she seemed to be and her secret may not have only got her killed but could ruin the foundation of her entire family.
The police hunt for suspects but Nadia’s secret could wreck the lives of many, all who have motive to kill her.

The deeper Brianna and Steven dig into Nadia’s past; the more they question whether Nadia was the true victim after all.


  1. This was great! I'm a Stacy Deanne Fan!

  2. Stacy, thanks for the great tips.

  3. Thanks for stopping by and I am glad to help!

  4. Your book sounds really interesting, and thank you for such great tips. I love writing suspense, and I like to study from the masters. Lisa Gardner and Tami Hoag is a favorite of mine, and I'll be adding you to my list:)

  5. Thank you for the Suspense Tips! I write suspense.

  6. Great information! I'm such a Stacy Deanne fan!

  7. Great tips, Stacy! I love your books!



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