Suspense Suspense is the growing interest and excitement readers experience in the rising actions while awaiting a climax or resolution in a work of literature. It is a feeling of anxious uncertainty about the outcome of events. Writers create suspense by raising questions in the readers’ minds about what might happen next in the plot.
Suspense is usually most intense at the close of chapters in novels and the ends of acts in dramas.
Imagine the suspense of waiting to see what your future holds. Will it be door number 1, door number 2, or door number 3?
Remember what it feels to like to anticipate the contents of the presents awaiting you under the tree or on your birthday?
Tools of Suspense • Mysterious Circumstances • Locked doors • Hidden rooms • Mysterious Characters • Monstrous creatures • Peculiar acting characters • Dark Settings • Thunderstorms • Candle-lit rooms • Difficult Decisions • Whom to marry? • Keeping a secret • Unresolved Issues • Will a character survive an illness? • Live through a perilous predicament – such as hanging on the edge of a cliff? • The Element of Surprise • Shocking your reader • An outcome that was not expected
From “The Bus Ride” • “My imagination was now fired up; I was wide awake. Since he was looking the other way, I observed him more closely, to fine tune my story. I suddenly noticed the blood on his hands. Some of it was fresh, the rest caked.” • What tools of suspense are being used here? • Mysterious character, peculiar acting stranger
From “The Bus Ride” • “I kicked snow off the newspaper that was lying on the ground and gasped. Looking up at me was the man from the bus. Over his head was the title: ‘Man caught on tape killing wife and kids.’” • What tools of suspense are being used here? • The element of surprise
From “The Adventure of the Speckled Band” • “”I believe, Mr. Holmes, that you have already made up your mind,” said Miss Stoner, laying her hand upon my companion’s sleeve. “Perhaps I have.”“Then, for pity’s sake, tell me what was the cause of my sister’s death.”” – pg. 126 • What tools of suspense are being used here? • Unresolved issue