Thursday, May 11, 2017

CRAFT: Infusing Tension into Your Writing

This weekend I will be teaching a class about "tension" at the Storymakers Conference in Utah, and I wanted to share with you some of my favorite quotes on the topic.

Of course, story conflict begins with your overarching idea, but to keep readers turning pages, you must infuse tension into every scene. This does not mean inserting fist fights; it means embedding opposing goals, emotions, and ideals. When you steep a scene with contrasting elements, the crafted tension keeps the reader engaged in the story. 

You might think, “I don’t write thrillers. Therefore, I don’t need to worry about tension in every scene.” Wrong! This concept applies to all great writing – both fiction and narrative non-fiction.

"It’s your writing craft that empowers your storytelling to sink its fingers into readers’ imaginations and compel them to want to know what happens next." -- Ray Rhamey, Mastering the Craft of Compelling Storytelling

"Tension is achieved when you have a goal, emotion, or ideal working in conflict." -- Margo Kelly

"The more intensely characters want something, and the more intense the resistance, the greater the conflict. And conflict is the most important ingredient for getting your audience to dream the fictive dream. At all times, you should have a motivated character overcoming obstacles in pursuit of a goal." -- James Frey, How to Write a Damn Good Thriller

"Micro-tension is that sense that, on every page of the novel, there’s conflict in the air, or that characters are slightly off-balance. It needn’t be a flat-out argument or a gun battle or a huge confrontation. …But small and continuous doses of tension keep the story moving and keep the pages turning." -- Tess Gerritsen

If you'd like me to speak with your group on this topic, send me an email at margokelly1 @ outlook . com (without the spaces).

Happy writing!

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