How To Build Anticipation In Your Writing

by Geraldine Mac Donald

It’s that sweet build-up of wonder, that feeling of exhilaration mixed with the unknown: who’s around the corner, what’s going to happen, where’s this going next? 

You feel it coming on like a distant thunderstorm before the first crack of cloud and rain. The sky around you subtly changes colour. The cows bed down in their fields. And, is it your imagination or does the air taste different too? 

how to build anticipation in your writing

BOOM! 

SPLASH! 

It takes skill to craft the right amount of tension in writing. It takes practice and time to lead the reader onward and forward. Hooking them is easy enough, if you’ve got a way with words, but how do you keep them wondering? Guessing? Wanting more? Then, how do you leave them hanging off that proverbial cliff just so they’ll want to climb again? 

In this age of media bombardment and hyper-stimulation it’s not as easy as it once was to catch and keep your readers’ attention. So it’s more important than ever to know how to draw them in and keep them within the boundaries of the limitless story you’ve created. You want nothing more than to pull them into the pages of your work just so you can engage their minds to fully roam and explore that world, those events, and these characters. 

There’s no greater compliment to a writer than, “I couldn’t put your book down,” or, “I devoured your story.”  Good tension is one of the best ways to achieve that goal. 

                                         “The suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.” Oscar Wilde

CRACK! 

BOOM! 

Here’s how I attempt to create suspense in writing...




author Geraldine Mac DonaldGeraldine Mac Donald is a graduate of Queen's University, a former registered nurse, a medical/scientific translator; a writer, published author, and mother of four. One favourite memory of childhood was when she discovered that town libraries were public and anyone could get a card! It was a life-changing day. Her first novel for young adults has recently been released to rave reviews. Her second novel will be released in 2016. Besides translating medical stuff she writes fiction and creative nonfiction. Geraldine lives, works and plays with her family in Kingston, Ontario. 

Watch for a beautiful piece of creative non-fiction coming from Geraldine in our September issue! Pre-orders are being accepted until August 20, 2016.

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