How To Write a Suspense Novel

Suspense novels are probably one of the hardest genres to write. Aside from having to come up with a great story line, you also have the task of building up your events intensely to make the readers feel the thrill, pulse, excitement, action, and, of course, the suspense. There are has been a lot of published suspense novels already and many of them have had phenomenal success. Somehow, this raises the bar for the other suspense novels. People who have read the most thrilling and exciting suspense novels expect other suspense novels to have the same impact for them. In order to write a great suspense novel, you must know the basic guidelines first. You will find them below.

  • Stimulate. Start by stimulating your readers. Catch their attention using dramatic and mysterious but harmless words. You can begin with an interesting opening that lacks certain details that readers would want to find out.
  • Observe pacing. When your reader feels suspense, they are in a condition of excitement or mental uncertainty that usually goes with anxiety or apprehension. With suspense, pacing is everything. You have to keep your readers off their balance. One minute, you let them in on a certain mysterious event during and the next, they find themselves being shut off from what is really happening.
  • Keep them on the edge of their seats. One of the reasons why suspense novels are a hit because it keeps the readers’ minds active. They story line makes them guess what will happen next and who the culprit is. That is why you can insert a lot of elements that would keep them guessing, like deception. Let them guess who the betrayers are. Another way to do this is to present danger to the main character. The readers must be feeling the thrill and the need to guess how the main character will get out of it.

    To add more impact, you may add some need for urgency. You may add a time bomb or any element that needs the main character to finish the task quickly. Make sure that the readers always feel the anticipation for what is to come. You may build tension by making the characters angry and upset or by making them do dangerous stuff impulsively. You may also add some characters that need to be saved. Putting a character’s life in danger will definitely alarm your readers.

  • Explain. Of course, much attention should be given to building up the suspense itself. But, you should never leave out the explanations. Come up with your explanations why the conflict has come up or why the antagonist wants to kill the main character. This adds an impact to the whole story as well as to the thrill that the readers experience. They can get more excited if they understand why the events are occurring. Knowing the explanation gives them more ideas on what will happen next. You will keep them guessing as they feel the suspense.
  • Solve the mystery. Of course, you must give your readers answers. One of the things that they look forward to in finishing the book is uncovering all the mystery. You may choose to leave some details hanging if you want a sequel but, if not, you must answer all questions.

Now that you have your suspense story, you may begin formally writing or typing it to have it published. You may try it on yourself. If you feel the air of suspense, then your book just might be a best seller.


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