30 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
I’ll give you an example of a protagonist’s secret. In my unpublished novel, Children of Light and Darkness, the protagonist, Kathrin, has a great many secrets. These secrets are slowly revealed through the novel. Kathrin is pregnant. She knows this and it is a secret until late in the novel. There is enough foreshadowing that a sharp reader will figure it out.
Kathrin is also a Celtic goddess. This doesn’t come out until late in the novel, but, again, there are enough breadcrumbs that a reader might figure it out. The point is that you should let your protagonist have secrets and don’t reveal them until the right time in the novel. Don’t let your readers know everything about your characters. I’ll give you more examples.
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.