Rising Action – Tension and Release, Secrets

27 June 2012, this blog is about writing in scenes.  I’ll leave up the parts of a novel because I think this is an important picture for any novelist.  I’m writing about the rising action.

1. The beginning
2. The rising action
3. The Climax
4. The falling action
5. The dénouement

Tension and release is the method of development of the rising action.  There are obviously degrees of tension and release–let’s look at them.

How to create tension and release.  Let’s start a list, off the cuff:

1. Fear
2. Love
3. Sex
4. Hate
5. Hunger or thirst
6. Jealousy
7. Danger
8. Drunkenness
9. Pain and suffering
10. Injury
11. Loss
12. Abuse
13. Torture
14. Nature
15. Sickness
16. Gender confusion
17.  Disfigurement
18.  Time
19.  Secrets
20. …

Secrets are a great method of developing tension and release.  The secrets can be secrets of the main character or secrets involving others.  Usually, authors consider the secrets that are not those of the main character–this is a mistake.  The most powerful use of secrets are those that are kept by the protagonist…and not shared immediately with the reader.

Let’s think about this.  In many novels, the writer can’t wait to tell the readers everything there is about the protagonist–this is a terrible mistake.  A novel is not a story–a novel is a revelation of the characters.  If you reveal everything at the beginning, there is nothing to drive the rest of the novel.

I’ll write more about secrets as a tension builder, tomorrow.  I also want to leave myself a note.  I was asked by one of my blog readers to explain how I decide what to tell and what not to tell in my writing.  I’ll try to keep this in mind as I touch on the rest of the tension building topics.

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About L.D. Alford

L. D. Alford is a novelist whose writing explores with originality those cultures and societies we think we already know. His writing distinctively develops the connections between present events and history—he combines them with threads of reality that bring the past alive. L. D. Alford is familiar with technology and cultures—he is widely traveled and earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Pacific Lutheran University, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Boston University, a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from The University of Dayton, and is a graduate of Air War College, Air Command and Staff College, and the USAF Test Pilot School. L. D. Alford is an author who combines intimate scientific and cultural knowledge into fiction worlds that breathe reality. He is the author of three historical fiction novels: Centurion, Aegypt, and The Second Mission, and three science fiction novels: The End of Honor, The Fox’s Honor, and A Season of Honor.
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One Response to Rising Action – Tension and Release, Secrets

  1. Pingback: Hiding Information From Readers | Rewrite, Reword, Rework

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