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Writer Wednesday: 3 Ways to Build Suspense

Erin E. M. Hatton

Ever read a book that kept you hanging on till the last page, unable to put it down?  Ever read one that didn’t?


What made the difference?  Why did you lose interest in that one book?  Why did you forget about everything else while you read the other?

Suspense.  Even if it isn’t a “suspense” novel, every good book has some measure of suspense.  Every gripping novel keeps you guessing, wondering, hoping, fearing – right until the last page.  (And maybe beyond)

I’ve heard this phenomenon called “breadcrumbs”.  Like Hansel and Gretel’s ill-fated trail through the forest, these breadcrumbs are supposed to lead the reader on a journey.  In this case, it’s a journey of discovery.  You might be discovering a mystery, or a relationship, or a dark secret, or the culmination of a quest.  But a good author knows how to reel out just enough information to keep the…

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