Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I've been thinking a lot about tension in a story.  How to build it.  How to keep it.  How to dole out answers to the questions you've been asking and still building suspense.

One of the biggest problems with the TV series LOST (other than the silly last 15 minutes of the finale) was the fact that all the characters were keeping secrets from each other.  I don't mean real secrets, the kind people have to keep.  No, they wouldn't tell the other people about the BIG things.  Things that, if the right people knew, would solve all their problems.

That's a cheap way to build suspense.

So, right now, as I'm drafting.  I'm trying to give the answers as I figure them out and still be able to raise the stakes.  Each answer to should lead to another question. 

The other way to build tension is to keep your character down.  Keep beat the crap out of him.  Not physically, but emotionally.  Every time he takes a step forward, you kick that goal away from him.  Make him go further for it.

Yeah, I've got tension on the brain.

And since I'm so caught up in the story I'm writing, you get a short post today.  Sorry guys. 

But if you want to read more from me, you can check out my new blog Beers 'N' Books. Let me know what you think.

1 comment:

Ben said...

I'm watching LOST right now 38/120 and while I think you have a point, I love the clashing of the two ideas. An extreme survivalist setting Vs human nature of keeping secrets from each other. The characters kept behaving like alienated urbanites while they shouldn't and that's what made it so unique. You're right, not keeping those secrets would have pretty much solved all their problems. But that's not what humans do.