Simply put, suspense just means the reader wonders what happens next. For the writer, it must be something he/she is able to generate. It is not just curiosity, but holding out the promise that readers will eventually get answers to questions. Loose ends must be tightly knotted.
Suspense is emotional. The reader must experience vicariously what the hero or heroine is experiencing. This means the reader identifying with the character, and when he feels emotional tumult, so on a certain level will the reader.You want the reader, as soon as possible, to think “Yes I understand. I’ve been there. I know exactly how he feels.”
There are several techniques for heightening suspense. One of them is the ticking clock. There is a time limit and your character must accomplish something difficult and dangerous, maybe it means life or death, and time is fast ticking away. Another way is to let the reader know something the character doesn’t suspect, such as a time bomb ticking away in as minivan full of children. If you’ve done a good job, the reader will unconsciously catch his breath now and again.
There are lots of variations if you want to write thrillers, such as a single woman living an outwardly normal life with a new room-mate she doesn’t suspect (but the reader knows) is a psychotic killer. The secret is to reach beyond curiosity and engage the reader’s emotions. It’s not always easy , but it is certainly possible.
I’ve had some recent excitement – a letter informing me that I have been awarded a literary prize in Israel for my novel :The Pomegranate Pendant” – even though I’ve written 8 books since then, it is the one that goes on selling and gaining me new readers. Also honored at the ceremony on Nov. 12th will be the producer of the movie made from my novel, titled “The Golden Pomegranate” – Mr. Robert Bleiweiss, and the movie’s director , famed film star Dan Turgeman. You can obtain copies of the novel from me at the address in About Me and Books, or other of my books.
Your comments are always welcome and, new writers, if I can help you with any writing problems,
please contact me.