Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/newsletters/action/archives/id/7694
Mystery: June 15, 2016 Issue [#7694]

Newsletter Header

 This week: Pacing a Suspenseful Scene
  Edited by: Marci Missing Everyone
                             More Newsletters By This Editor  

Table of Contents

1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions

About This Newsletter

I'm Marci and I'm your guest editor this week. Many of you might know me for my poetry writing, but did you also know I write romantic suspense/thriller novels? I am currently working with Love Inspired to sell my first Christian romantic suspense, and I'm here to share an important element that I have recently learned about in suspenseful writing!

I often will write a scene from three different points of view to find out which has the most tension and which way I'm able to conceal the information I'm trying to conceal. And that is, at the end of the day, what writing suspense is all about. - Dan Brown

This suspense is terrible. I hope it will last. - Oscar Wilde

Word from our sponsor

ASIN: 1542722411
Amazon's Price: $ 12.99

Letter from the editor

Pacing a suspenseful scene

How can sentence structure and word choice affect the outcome of a scene? It’s in the mechanics of how we think. Someone recently told me in a review that I used too many sentence fragments in my writing. But my mentor, who is a best-selling author in the Christian market, told me that in suspense and thriller writing, sentence fragments are our friends. So I’m here to show you how to create that suspenseful scene by breaking the grammar rules we all grew up learning.

In order to understand what I am talking about, you need to compare a scene written in two different ways. One will seem to drag on slowly, while the other will hopefully intensify the panic and suspense.

Laurel ran across the paved parking lot. She looked behind because she thought she heard footsteps. Darkness loomed no matter which way she turned. How had the power gone out in a parking garage? Surely there was a generator someplace. If she could just make it to the stairs, Laurel would head up the two flights of steps until she reached the level with her car. Without power, there was no elevator, but the distance didn’t bother her. It was the darkness and the sound of someone following her that left her breathless this night. She felt for her phone in her purse. If she could get her phone, she would have a flashlight. Why had she bought such a large purse? The footsteps were closer. Aha! She found her phone, turned on the flashlight app, and searched around her, but she saw no one. Now she could see the stairwell, and had just reached for the handle when…

The only thing that left you the least bit suspenseful there was the last line. Why? I put in too much information. Right now, you don’t care why the generator doesn’t work or why she bought such a big purse. What you want to know is if someone is following her and does she get away. So you probably will skim all the extraneous information. And you could also care less whether I write in perfect grammatical sentences either. So, let’s look at a better way to write this scene.

“Laurel ran across the parking garage, and then… darkness.
No power? What should she do? Her car was two levels up.
Were those footsteps? She tried to look around, but darkness consumed.
Closer they came. In a frenzy, she searched for her phone.
“Come on, come on… Found it!”
Laurel turned on the flashlight app and whirled it around.
She saw no one. Only… she still heard them. Heard them breathing.
The stairwell was only about 15 yards away. Again she ran. This time at break-neck speed.
The footsteps came faster. She felt the breath on her skin.
Heavy breathing.
She dove for the door handle. And as she reached to pull it open…”

See how the use of shorter sentences, shorter words, and shorter thoughts all make the pacing of the scene seem faster. There are probably a similar number of words in each paragraph, but one just feels more intense. Of course, this is a scene that I wrote just for this newsletter, so I haven’t poured over it to make it the perfect scene. But you get the gist. When you want to slow a scene down, you, of course, do the opposite. It would read more like my first paragraph example.

I hope this will help you create scenes with greater suspense and intensity in your own writing.

PS... If you want to know what happens whens she goes to open the door, catch me this time next month as I'll be here again!

Editor's Picks

This poem is an excellent example of creating suspense! *Thumbsup*
Paranioa  (E)
They're out to get you!
#2086483 by Poolé

I like that this is told from two Points of View
 Mexican Standoff  (ASR)
Newbies Academy Challenge; 500 words from the POV of two characters/Twisted Tales Contest
#2085076 by Santa

Great story! I think you'll enjoy.
 Mexican Standoff  (ASR)
Newbies Academy Challenge; 500 words from the POV of two characters/Twisted Tales Contest
#2085076 by Santa

Flash Fiction from a newbie. Why not stop by with a review?
 Awakening is my Escape  (13+)
A 100-word flash fiction.
#2084245 by youraspiringwriter

For those who would like something a little longer to read...
 Invalid Item 
This item number is not valid.
#2083362 by Not Available.

And a few more for you to check out
 Spam Scam  (E)
Poem for Short Shots Contest
#2082876 by copywriter

 Steppe Carefully (Flash Fiction entry)  (E)
Will Gannon's greed be the death of him... or make him a national hero?
#2083079 by Ice Newton

The God Fix   (18+)
A man emerges from the darkness and the rain, claiming to be the saviour.
#2082921 by Ceadda Alexander

 Invalid Item 
This item number is not valid.
#2081889 by Not Available.

Submit an item for consideration in this newsletter!

Word from Writing.Com

Have an opinion on what you've read here today? Then send the Editor feedback! Find an item that you think would be perfect for showcasing here? Submit it for consideration in the newsletter!

Don't forget to support our sponsor!

Product Type: Toy
Amazon's Price: $ 22.80

Ask & Answer

Since this is my first Mystery Newsletter, I don't have any feedback. So, my question for next time... Do you have any tips or tricks to add to the suspense of a scene? Or can you finish the scene from above?

Thanks for reading!!!

*Bullet* *Bullet* *Bullet* Don't Be Shy! Write Into This Newsletter! *Bullet* *Bullet* *Bullet*

This form allows you to submit an item on Writing.Com and feedback, comments or questions to the Writing.Com Newsletter Editors. In some cases, due to the volume of submissions we receive, please understand that all feedback and submissions may not be responded to or listed in a newsletter. Thank you, in advance, for any feedback you can provide!
Writing.Com Item ID To Highlight (Optional):

Send a comment or question to the editor!
Limited to 2,500 characters.
Word from our sponsor
ASIN: B085272J6B
Amazon's Price: $ 5.99

Removal Instructions

To stop receiving this newsletter, click here for your newsletter subscription list. Simply uncheck the box next to any newsletter(s) you wish to cancel and then click to "Submit Changes". You can edit your subscriptions at any time.

Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/newsletters/action/archives/id/7694