Ratchet Up the Tension

Ratchet Up the Tension

So you have a list of characters, a setting, a list of things that will happen to the protagonist, even a timeline, but things still seem a little dull. There seems to be something missing. Sure my two princes will be crowned king, but what’s so exciting about that.  One more ingredient is needed to make this story sparkle, jump out and pull the reader in and then never let go. It needs some tension, a little conflict thrown in. What brought my protagonist to this spot and where will he go once it is over?

To come up with these, I suggest doing a what if list: what if someone interrupts the ceremony, what if there is a kidnapping, what if the prince doesn’t make it and why didn’t he make it? As we answer these what ifs a whole new set of ideas arise along with ratcheting up the tension. Don’t give the reader an easy situation, take the answer to your what ifs and incorporate them into the story. This will add all new dimensions to your story and help your word count get from 0 to say 50,000, 100,000 and beyond. Your characters will become three dimensional as you see how they react to the dilemma in front of them.

Never let your protagonist take the easy way out, don’t let the situation pass without a little conflict to spice things up. I have a friend, Ang Bouma, whose theory is when you get blocked throw in a bar fight. I want to add to that and suggest if things are getting to dull, too easy, throw in a bar fight. Don’t give the characters a chance to become complacent. Complacent is boring Give the reader a reason to root for your protagonist, to be fearful that he won’t reach his goal, that this time he may just be the one to lose. And make sure that once in a while he does lose, because winning all the time is boring and predictable. Always keep your readers wondering, but don’t take away their hope. Strike an equal balance between success and failure. This is what will keep your reader turning the pages, reading till the end and wanting more, like the next book in the series.

Check out Ang Bouma’s blog for more writing stuff at http://angbouma.wordpress.com.

God Bless and Happy Writing


Aaron’s Revenge

Available at Xlibris, Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Women of the Bible: A Study

Available at Filbert Books, Amazon and Faithwriters


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