Tag Archives: mystery

Suspense is your friend

Suspense. Mystery. Two key points for any best-seller book. Suspense and mystery are what enthrall your reader, making him believe that there is something to find out, something they must discover.

However, we’ve all read books where this is so poorly executed, that it turns out to be very obvious. That’s terrible, isn’t it?

Creating suspense

You create suspense by letting an unanswered question in the air. There is something wrong, but the reader doesn’t know what it is. This will make them want the answer to that question, but for that, he must keep reading the story. This will captivate them.

The more times you can avoid directly answering this question, the more suspense you’re able to create. You can’t give away too much or fill the scenes with unnecessary information. That would be boring and mess with your plan.

The most effective way to do this is trough skipping scenes. This means that you give something, some information or piece of the puzzle, to your reader, and then skip the scene without explaining it. For example, you describe your character’s reaction, but not the event or circumstance that lead him to that reaction. Then you skip the scene.

When you do this, you can continue as you’d prefer, but sometimes, give some background information to the reader might be quite effective. This will tell the reader that this new information might have something to do with the previous scene, making them build theories and hypotheses in their head, but, in reality, that just raises more questions!

Foreshadowing

Foreshadowing is a specific way of creating suspense. You’re doing this when you suggest that something is going to happen ahead of time (like in the horror movies with their typically creepy soundtrack).

Well, it’s difficult to make the reader listen to a music, or tune, in a book (not impossible though), but there are many ways of having the same impact, as is evidenced by giving creepy or gruesome details on the environment or showing that the character is having a bad, nearly queasy, feeling…

You can also do this, evidencing something far ahead in the story and then going back to a time where everything was okay. This way, your readers will want to know what the hell is going on here that might lead to such as outcome.

 

Suspense and mystery move your readers, and they’re, indeed, your best friends, but eventually, you will have to answer the questions. In the end, that’s what provides readers their satisfaction and closure.

5 tips for your first page

In the previous post, we talked about how important the first page is to the success of your book. A good first page is, without a doubt, the difference between someone actually buying and reading through your whole book or merely picking it from the shelf, opening it up and setting it back.

It’s normal, especially for a new author, to feel scared about writing such an important part of their book. That why I’m going to give you some tips that might make that task less daunting, or even slightly easier.

1. Protagonist

The main character in your book must be interesting. Is it already? Good. Now, the thing is: you don’t have much time to showcase that to your readers, so… why not on the very first page?

When we met someone new, we often judge them from the first few seconds of our interaction with them. Very often we’ll naturally catch their most obvious characteristics and label them into categories that make sense to us, for personal insight in order to know how to proceed. So, you’ll need to use this knowledge, in order to introduce your protagonist in a way which is sure to leave a great impression.

Showcase their most peculiar and important traits of personality, leading your readers to create an image of your character in their heads from the very beginning, especially one that intrigues them.

2. Dialogue or action

This is the safest way to go with, on that very first page. As soon as they start reading, there is already something happening. It’s better and usually more interesting than a description…

3. Conflict

Start with a problem, show that there is something wrong, or about to go that way, in this world the readers are going to be exploring. You probably shouldn’t expose the full main conflict of the book, unless you want to risk giving away too much information right from the beginning, but it’s definitely a safe shot to present your character with a problem or conflict to resolve, right from the start.

You can also choose to show that there is a major conflict about something, without specifying precisely what it might be.

4. Mystery

Every story needs some mystery, something that is not that obvious to keep the reader interested. Why not present something like that, right on the first page?

A good way to do it, is to start writing in the middle of a scene as if the reader just arrived when something was happening, and he must continue reading, in order to understand what is taking place.

5. Write it later

Starting to write a story’s beginning, with an amazing scene, when we’re still not sure of what will happen along the entire way, might turn into a huge struggle.

Don’t get stuck on that first page, just keep writing. Allow yourself to get to know your story a bit better, and then, taking into consideration that omniscience you have on your story’s world and how it will be presented, you will most likely be able to write a much intriguing and integrated first page, which connects seamlessly into the story to come!