- How was I to know our destinies would forever be entwined together?
- If I’d but have known what would happen, I’d never have agreed to meet him at that café.
- As a rebellious teenager, I didn’t realize what would happen to me. As an adult, I should have known and flown as far away from the site as possible.
Fascinating scenarios and suspenseful tidbits, but sentences like this don’t actually add suspense to a novel. They just tell the reader what’s going to happen. Instead of putting it all on the table in the first sentence, try creating tension by giving a hint that something will happen. When you do that, it’s called foreshadowing.
Here are few suggestions on how to create foreshadowing.
Do you have a character who picks up and plays the flute midway through your novel? Then give the reader a hint – suggest that the flute might later be important. What if, earlier in the story, she sees a flute in an antique shop – she picks up her flute, stares at it, and replaces it lovingly in it’s case. That gives the reader a sense that the flute might be important later.
Strange plot developments.
Suppose you have a father who’s dying, but he’s been keeping up the farm with the help of and for his best employees. Telling the reader up front that the father’s dying doesn’t add suspense, but if you give hints – show him resting, breathing abnormally, or suffering severe headaches – you will have set up a good reason why he suddenly collapses, dies, and leaves his children alone in the world.
Whether suspenseful or romantic, show some melodrama, some sense of something about to happen. A young policeman saves a woman’s son from a speeding car. Later that same policeman is injured and transported to the hospital where the mother works. That beginning scenario gives us a hint that something important is coming later.
No one wants the plot laid out for them in detail or strong lines informing us that this is going to take place. Instead, hint, as a sideline, as a brief mention, as a light reference to, a person, an act, a place, to give the reader a taste–a desire for more, an anticipation that your book will deliver.
Your reader will sigh with contentment when they turn that last page.
Besides being an active participant of many writing groups, Carole enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense, tough topics, romance and whimsy into her books, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?
Personal blog: http://sunnebnkwrtr.blogspot.com/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Carole-Brown/e/B00EZV4RFY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1427898838&sr=8-1
Word Sharpeners: https://wordsharpeners.wordpress.com/
Stitches in Time: http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com/
Barn Door Book Loft: http://www.barndoorbookloft.net/