Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How The Right Setting Can Build Suspense...

Giveaway Alert!

How the right setting can build suspense...

We’ve all been scared by the scary scenes in movies. The dark and stormy night, the spooky house, the bad guy slipping in silently, the lights going out and the breath holding suspense as the victim waits for him to appear.

What are the factors that build the suspense there? Definitely the visuals and the sounds. But wait, the director has built this scene with the appropriate visuals and non-diegetic sound but the true nail biting tension comes mainly from the plot and the puzzle the screenwriter has set up.

So when we are writing suspense stories for a reader, we need to set it up so the words and the settings we create fire the reader’s imagination to enhance the scene.

There are a few devices you can use to strengthen the suspense. Just a couple of teasers below for you...

Take away the hero/heroine’s ability to defend themselves. In the excerpt below, Gracie, my heroine in Dangerous Desire, is injured and hiding.

Use emotions to convey suspense.  Gracie moves through fear, to anger to determination to beat the bad guys and attain her goal.

We have to create a suspenseful plot and write the words that let the reader use their imagination to bring all their senses into the scene. We need to invoke a visceral reaction in the reader. The creeping fear, the pounding heart and the goose bumps, and most of all the need of the reader to keep turning the pages to see what happens.

I hope you enjoy reading Dangerous Desire.

Then all was still—no birdsong, no wind in the trees. Even the sound of the waves was muffled by the hill. Until the sound of Mick crashing through the undergrowth on the side of the hill reached her. After a few moments, his voice came from below her.

“I’m going to find you, and when I do it won’t be pleasant for you. But I’ll enjoy it.” He laughed and her blood chilled.

He was close by and Gracie fought the whimper rising in her chest. Her chin shook uncontrollably as fear skittered through her. She clenched her jaw and bit her bottom lip hard. The metallic taste of blood filled her mouth, but that was better than letting any sound escape.
She lay there completely still with her eyes squeezed shut—not drawing a breath until the sound of him sliding down the hill receded. Gracie cleared her mind and focused on her breathing. Something crawled across her face but she kept her eyes shut and didn’t make a sound.

Dangerous Desire

A desperate search…

Schoolteacher Gracie James has never seen more danger than her Kindergarten classroom, but when she goes searching for her missing sister, she’s thrown into a world of sex, crime...and passion. Following a hot lead, she sneaks onto a stranger’s boat—and gets caught. Their one-sided conversation convinces her of two things. One: the guy is seriously sexy. Two: he knows something about her sister. Oh, yeah. And did she mention he’s sexy?

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Annie Seaton lives with her husband, and ‘Bob’ the dog and two white cats in a house next to the beach on the east coast of Australia. She sits in her writing chair, gazing at the ocean and writing stories.  Their two children are grown and married and she loves spending time gardening, walking on the beach and spoiling her two grandchildren. She has always been fascinated by all things romantic and has found her niche in life writing romance novels, ranging through contemporary, historical, suspense and paranormal...but all with romance of course.

Annie loves to hear from readers at:

Her website is and her blog is at

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  1. I like your post on how to enhance suspense. Your book sounds interesting as does your title. Please enter me in you draw.

  2. Dangerous Desire sounds really good... wonderful snippet... thanks for sharing!

  3. When the suspense is good then I don't ever realise I am turning the pages.

  4. Great excerpt, Annie. Love how you interweave both internal and external elements to create the tension.

  5. Really nice excerpt. I got chills reading it, which is hard to do in that short passage. Thanks for the post!

  6. Yoiks! Bugs. I hate bugs. You already gave me the chills, then you had to go and make my skin crawl with the icky bug-thing on her face! Sounds like a good read! Congratulations on Dangerous Desire.

  7. I love the lesson about the right setting to build suspense. Thanks.

  8. Thank for calling here and reading my excerpts! Annie

  9. Was that a spider crawling across her face? Because if so, I would've been good 'n caught after I freaked out! LOL! Awesome excerpt, Annie!


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