by Ana Siqueira
I want to tell you how to add tension to your manuscript. Oh, no! I can’t tell you that.
It’s against the rules.
I must show you, right?
Let’s start with a sweet and silly story about a carrot-eating bunny. (This is not my WIP! hahaha)
Bunny Jeo gobbles up sweet carrots.
When the floor shakes.
And he hears…
It’s a Monster Carrott!!!
Now let’s investigate some techniques used in these spreads.
Technique 1: Page-turner
TV shows often end with a cliffhanger, to reel you in and keep you coming back for more. Will the bad guy catch the good guy? Will the princess fall in love with the prince? Will the rabbit gobble up the monster?
So you must hook your readers with a question.
Ending a spread with but, when, then, or even ellipsis will pique the readers’ curiosity.
They won’t be able to stand it. They must…
TURN THE PAGE!!!
Now that the reader is hooked, let’s keep them curious and a little nervous too.
Technique 2 - Short sentences
Short sentences full of tension will hook your readers and engage them in the story.
The bunny gags.
The bunny hides.
Long sentences are good to slow down the pace. Short, snappy sentences add tension and mystery. But don’t forget to use the page-turner to heighten things even more.
On spread 2, readers will feel the need to TURN THE PAGE because they must find out who is doing all that stomping.
Technique 3 - Onomatopoeia and Senses
If you’ve read comic books, you’ll have seen lots of sound effects, right? Pow, Kaboom, Zap, Crash! Words like these immediately grab your attention. Sound effects, onomatopoeias, smells, visions, or any senses can involve readers. And if readers can hear, smell, taste, see, or touch but they don’t know what…Ta-Da! They will…
TURN THE PAGE.
Technique 4 - Show, Don’t tell
Of course, we all have heard and been annoyed by this message - Show, Don’t Tell, but…
Technique 5 - Why do they Care?
These are a few techniques you can use to add tension to your manuscript. But remember, the most important way to get your readers hooked is to make them feel. If we really feel for this bunny and cheer for him, that will keep us hooked. So, make sure your character is likable and readers care about them. And also, one more annoying question…
What is at STAKE?
Will the Monster Carrot say he wants to be his best friend and they go play in the garden? - Probably not that tension-packed, right?
But maybe the Monster Carrot does want to be the bunny’s best friend, but the bunny is really scared of the monster. - Higher stakes
What if the Monster Carrot tries to gobble up the rabbit? - Huge stakes.
Choose what is at stake.
Make your readers care.
And force them to…
Turn the page!
And if they
Pound, pound! Feel.
You got them HOOKED…
FOREVER! (just an exaggeration for tension purposes, of course!)
Find more about her and her books at https://anafiction.com/
You can follow Ana on
Twitter - https://twitter.com/SraSiqueira1307
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/asiqueira1307/?hl=en
Mark Ana’s book - Want to Read on GoodReads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard?ref=nav_profile_authordash
We are so excited to be mixing things up at CBA, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome new bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with Clear Fork/Spork editor/art director, & CBA Director Mira Reisberg PhD who is handing her Mondays over to awesome former now trad. pubbed students to widen their audience.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with several new books.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays feature funny Aussie author Sharon Giltrow sharing awesome Aussie books.
And 5th Mondays will feature Libyan American author Koloud Tarapolsi sharing wonderful diverse books.