3 Clever Ways To Enhance Tension In Your Novel

I'm not talking to you!

I’m not talking to you!

I avoid locking eyes with him because his stare is so thick I have to crave it with a swiss blade.

Can you feel tension?

Tension is what gives your readers that heart racing they feel when then they turn the pages in your book. It’s that ‘ I can’t sleep until I’m done reading’  feeling.

If you read, you’ve most likely come across a story that makes you more alert than a cat until you’ve reached a satisfying conclusion and your heart rate returns to normal.

But how do you create this kind of tension?

How do you keep your readers turning page to page?

1. Body Language

You’ve heard the phrase, “Actions speaks louder than words” but what does that really mean?

It means that how we act means more than what we say.

In the example above, the first thing I describe was the character avoiding eye contact with the other person. That movement says a lot about her personality (because she can’t handle intense situations), her habits, and how she feels.

Its shows she doesn’t want this situation.

Body language can enhance your tension because it goes one step farther than telling.

2. Dialogue

The words your characters say to one another can increase the tension ten folds.

Sometimes readers can’t guess what the character is thinking just by their body language. Sometimes the character needs to express how they feel directly or indirectly at the person that’s causing them tension.

An argument with words like “liar, trust, faith, ungrateful, deceitful,” or anything that would make an argument go deeper than surface level pettiness would work.

For example, If you have a character firing another character for poor work performance would you words like lazy or incompetent. The uneasiness feeling between your two characters create tension.

3. Setting

Your environment is not always picture perfect and neither should your character’s be.  Change the weather up a bit and create tension by having your characters overcome something during blizzard or thunderstorm or flood.

This can really help enhance the tension because it adds another layer of drama your characters  will have to overcome.

You can really by creative with this! Sandstorm, heat wave, dust storm, fog.

Anything that might ruffle your characters feathers!

Try these out and post what you think.

Have fun 🙂

Photo credit 123.rt

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About the Author

Shaquanda Dalton

Hello, my name is Shaquanda Dalton and welcome to Learnasyouwrite.com! I'm from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and graudated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a degree in Creative Writing. I fell in love with writing at the age nine and love it till this day. :)