Nancy's Books

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Build Reader Interest by Upping the Tension

Readers love to see a character overcome hardships that result in a happy ending. So what are some ways to accomplish that as a writer?

Allow the characters to make poor decisions and suffer the consequences of their actions. After all, the goal is to have the character grow and learn from the mistakes.

Give the characters phobias or habits that can become handicaps in their quest to solve the problem.

Give the characters difficult choices to make. The choices force the character to face transformation and change. Make the stakes high but the consequences even higher so the character is compelled to move forward and transform.

Following high-tension scenes, allow some calm to float such as the character eating a meal or playing with a dog or child.

Use foreshadowing to hint of a potential problem ahead.

Develop a compelling protagonist so the reader will have empathy as s/he mires through the dire straits you have established. The character should not be perfect, rather should reflect humanity, exposing his/her flaws.

Each of these devices should be developed so they seem natural to the character. Throughout, reveal the character’s emotions. The more s/he feels hurt, angry, disappointed, the more the reader is attuned to the problems.

Call for Submissions for Young and Adult Writers:

Skipping Stones: An international publication for readers 8-16 that celebrates ecological and cultural diversity and facilitates a meaningful exchange of ideas and experiences by publishing essays, stories, letters to the editor, riddles and proverbs, etc.

Submission guidelines at

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