Suspense books have a way of eliciting anxiety. The best of them will have your heart pounding against your rib cage. Or struggle to keep the beads of sweat on your face from debilitating your reading experience.
There are myriads of suspense and mystery novels that litter the shelves of most bookstores, both physical and virtual. However, very few of them can drag their readers through the sort of stress-ridden journey they have come to expect from the suspense genre. Suspense is a difficult sensation to capture in literature. It takes a skilled hand to write a story that ties a reader’s stomach in knots.
Tips on Writing Suspense Books
If you want to write suspense, you need to understand the genre. The best suspense books understand the rules governing their world. They comprise elements to engrossing a reader into the story and injecting them into the anxiety-heavy world of each character. Suspense is a hard discipline to master, but the following tips will help ensure a thrilling experience for your readers:
The best suspense books understand the importance of expanding a story’s perspective beyond the world of the hero. A glimpse of the antagonist can provide readers foresight into the dangers the protagonist will face down the line.
By giving the reader a ringside seat to the story’s developments, he/she gets to see a comprehensive view of both sides of the story, figure out the trouble before the protagonist does, know exactly what is at stake and experience every single twist, turn and plot progression.
A list of tips on writing a book with suspense would be incomplete without citing the importance of time. Suspense books use time to debilitate the efforts of the hero even while improving the advantage of the villain. If your protagonists are working against a clock, your readers cannot help but experience the sense of urgency hidden behind every paragraph and page. It could be argued that time constraints are the easiest and most effective tools for injecting and compounding the elements of suspense in any given story. Every minute you shortchange the protagonist is another notch up on the burner under the reader’s seat.
The stakes of your story must be high. The best suspense stories will not only craft terrifying stakes, but they will keep raising them as the story progresses. Readers must have a clear understanding of the perils facing your protagonist if he fails to achieve his objective. They must empathize with his plight, gaining a clear understanding of the factors driving his actions. Say you’re writing a story about a father trying to save his child. It is imperative that your audience understands how devastating the results will be if the father fails.
You need to apply considerable pressure to your protagonist, possibly by placing them under insurmountable odds. Their victories must be hard won with plots that force them to stretch their skills, capabilities and will to a breaking point. They should only achieve victory, if ever, by refusing to buckle under the pressure. The hero should bend, but never buckle under the pressures applied by the antagonist. Apply the right kind of pressure at the right time in your book and your readers will feel every facet of tension emanating from your words.
Create a Good Hero and Villain
The last of my tips on writing a book full of page-turning suspense deals with your reader’s ability to connect with the characters of your story. Of course having a relatable hero is key to any story, but in this case the hero must be someone the reader believes in and cares about. When the hero is in peril, the writer needs for the reader to hope that person will pull through. On the other hand, the villain has to be a worthy opponent to the hero. Give the readers reasons why the antagonist is who he is – explore his motivations and dig deep into his character.
Be sure to check out ChatEbooks for a list of spine-tingling suspense and mystery books you’ll surely get hooked on!