Monday, June 16, 2014

How to Ratchet Up Tension In Your Novel



What is tension? 


I love this definition: "Delicious moments of anxious uncertainty." Doesn't that grab you and make you want to create those kinds of moments in your stories? So how do you do that? 










  • You make your characters want something.
  • You create obstacles for them.
  • You don't let them have what they want.
  • You keep them trying to get it. . .for a while.


To enhance this tension of WANTING BUT NOT GETTING, Carol Kilgore has added the TICKING CLOCK. A perfect tension heightener. With character trying to overcome obstacles against the clock, readers have to turn the pages, and that's exactly what writers want.





By the end of a long evening working as a special set of eyes for the presidential security detail, all Kat Marengo wants is to kick off her shoes and stash two not-really-stolen rings in a secure spot. Plus, maybe sleep with Dave Krizak. No, make that definitely sleep with Dave Krizak. The next morning, she wishes her new top priorities were so simple.
As an operative for a covert agency buried in the depths of the Department of Homeland Security, Kat is asked to participate in a matter of life or death—locate a kidnapped girl believed to be held in Corpus Christi, Texas. Since the person doing the asking is the wife of the president and the girl is the daughter of the first lady’s dearest friend, it’s hard to say no.
Kat and Dave quickly learn the real stakes are higher than they or the first lady believed and will require more than any of them bargained for.
The kicker? They have twenty-four hours to find the girl—or the matter of life or death will become more than a possibility.

CAROL KILGORE

Carol writes grocery lists, texts to her family, new lyrics to old songs for her dogs, love notes to her husband, and novels for herself. And for you. In between, she blogs weekly at Under the Tiki Hut and is active on Facebook and Twitter.

She sees mystery and subterfuge everywhere. And she’s a sucker for a good love story—especially ones with humor and mystery. Crime Fiction with a Kiss gives her the latitude to mix and match throughout the broad mystery and romance genres. Having flexibility makes her heart happy.


You can connect with Carol and her books here:
*****

WRITE CLUB STARTS TODAY

*****

"Do what you have to do resolutely, with all your heart. The traveler who hesitates only raises dust on the road."

I'm guilty of hesitating and raising dust, but I'm working on being resolute.  How about you? And will you visit The Write Club today and cast a vote? I'm off to do that. Also don't forget Secrets of Honor is waiting for you. 



53 comments:

  1. A race against time is always thrilling.
    Saw that Write Club kicked off today - will go read and vote later.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is always fun. Glad DL is doing it again.

      Delete
  2. It's always more tense with a countdown. It's like waiting for a bomb to explode.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When writers do this well, it's so exciting.

      Delete
  3. The ticking clock sounds good. Will remember that.
    The book sounds exciting. Congratulations to Carol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love the ticking clock in books. I'll stay up all night to find out how those books turn out.

      Delete
  4. I've always found the ticking clock to be a major tension heightener. That really makes you want to see what happens and if the characters beat the countdown.

    For an MG story, I have someone fall ill causing a ticking clock of sorts forcing the chacracters to find help or a cure before ill turns ill-fatal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kids love to see the minutes tick off to doom.

      Delete
  5. Tension, yes. On every page. I like these 'pictures' of sorts as to how to do incorporate it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know it takes work to put that tension into word.

      Delete
  6. Speeding up time is always a great way to add tension! Thanks so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess that's why playing with the clock in fantasy is always exciting.

      Delete
  7. Carole's book sounds really tense. The ticking clock is a good way to ramp up the tension.

    ReplyDelete
  8. whenever I see the banner for that WRITE CLUB I have a feeling it's giving me the middle finger :))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Probably. Nicely disguised though, isn't it?

      Delete
  9. A ticking clock always keeps me on the edge of my seat.
    Great post!. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Yes, talk about tension! I guess that's why the tv show 24 is so thrilling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely. We can learn so much by watching the successful series on TV.

      Delete
  11. Very good way to put it.

    I've recently had to put tension and how to create it into words as well. Was actually a very good exercise for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is good to nail down how to do something.

      Delete
  12. My dad always said, "He who hesitates waits." Your quote made me think of that.

    Carol's book cover is pretty. I'm going to have to add it to my TBR list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's hard to always move forward when the choices are clear.

      Delete
  13. Love the definition you quoted. And a ticking clock or other deadline definitely raises the stakes.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Nothing heightens the tension like a race against the clock. It's almost hard to put those books down and go to bed when it's time!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anything described as a "delicious moment" always makes me want to experience it. There's something about that word, "delicious," that gives me a shiver. The book sounds great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some words just sound wonderful to the ear. Delicious is one of them. . .at least for me!

      Delete
  16. Thanks for using my cover and blurb as part of your post about creating tension. Much appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Tension is a very difficult feeling to capture. I like it when it is done right though. I can almost feel like I am part of the party.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pulling the reader into the story is exactly what you have to do.

      Delete
  18. I like the word "delicious" in reference to tension.
    Thank you, Carol and Lee.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi Lee and Carol,

    How delightful to note that the lovely Carol is being featured on this delightful of delightfully delightful blogs.

    The Secrets of Honour, oops, must type in American, Gary, The Secrets of Honor is a must. This means it's also time to share this post. Yep even of Farcebook!

    Ticking clock. Race against time? Or is that aliens who hate clocks?

    The Write Club, sorry, I will give that a miss.

    The starstuckest fan who is running way behind shall now backtrack to your other post and then lie down in a darkened room.

    Gary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the Farcebook attention.

      Delete
  20. Thanks so much for stopping by my post the other day and for following, I appreciate it :)

    Tension is an absolute must in stories. If there's nothing going on, there's no reason for us to care about the characters. I do enjoy creating tension in my stories. Sometimes I feel I create too much but it is fun to torture them...sometimes...

    Cheers!
    Jen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Torturing characters is cathartic. Much better than taking out those aggressions on real people. :-)

      Delete
  21. I need to get Carol's new book blurb up on my site. I meant to before now but things happened.

    As a writer we need to keep the reader off balance (is that too harsh?) as well as entertained. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Off balance works. If they're guessing what's going to happen next that's engaging them.

      Delete
  22. Hi I'm looking for your contact info for a bookreview/post?
    Can you email me at EdenLiterary at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  23. A ticking clock definitely increases the tension. Congrats to Carol!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hey, I was just at Write Club. :)

    Do NOT give them what they want! What a great way to put it. And yes, Carol's ticking clock sure does raise the tension.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I definitely love a novel with good tension that leaves me refusing to put the book down.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Great lead-in to Carol's book! I agree that tension is key for drawing in readers.

    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  27. Wahoo! Write Club has begun! I'm stoked, and yay Carol!

    Page turners are the best.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Congrats to Carol! Tension is key to me liking a book. It can be so delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thanks for sharing. Love that definition for tension. It really is an important aspect of any book. You want your readers flipping the pages like crazy!

    -Lauren

    ReplyDelete
  30. A ticking clock definitely adds tension to a story! A race against time always has me on the edge of my seat. :) Thanks for sharing and wishing Carol the best of luck.
    ~Jess

    ReplyDelete
  31. Point #3 - Do not give them what they want!
    Mmm, maybe I can use that to get some ideas, so I can complete the outline that I'm stuck with...
    I love the "ticking clock" concept and the sound of Carol's book!

    ReplyDelete
  32. awesome advice for keeping a reader on the edge of their seat! tension is one of my favorite parts of reading! yay for carol!

    ReplyDelete
  33. I like the idea of a ticking clock. I love seeing that in movies and books. Great tips on tension.

    ReplyDelete

Please say something to me, anything. Well, not anything, but a kind word will do.