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:
5. Hunger or thirst
9. Pain and suffering
16. Gender confusion
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.