Creating Suspense

Alfred Hitchcock, the master of this sort of storytelling, defined the difference between suspense and surprise as a matter of knowledge. If the audience doesn’t know that there’s a bomb beneath the characters’ table then you can achieve a few seconds of surprise when the bomb goes off. If the audience knows about the bomb but the characters don’t then you can achieve a whole scene’s worth of tension, as the audience wait with baited breath to see whether the bomb will be uncovered and what will happen when it explodes…

For more on this, check out my new article on maintaining suspense over at Re:Fiction. I talk about different approaches to building tension, and take the opportunity to talk a bit about The Wire.

Writing About Writing on Refiction

The ghost writer - truly an eerie figure of prose.
The ghost writer – truly an eerie figure of prose.

Looking to sharpen your writing skills? Or maybe crack the fundamentals of fiction? Then you might want to check out Refiction, a site I’ve recently been hired to write monthly posts for.

Some of the posts are on basics like the advantages, disadvantages and nuances of first person point of view, so more for the beginner writer. There’s also my take on how best to bring a character to life, and as time goes by there’ll be more of the sort of articles I sometimes write here, giving my approach to aspects of writing.

If you want to check it out, you can find a list of my articles here, and there’s plenty of interesting stuff from other writers as well.

Happy reading, and have fun writing!