Tag Archives: tension

Revision 06.4.2 – Tensionicide: Don’t Chicken Out


Some scenes overwhelm with emotion or are so difficult to write that the writer flinches, and jumps to after them to recap. In many cases, you couldn’t do a worse thing to your fiction.

Actual Workshop Examples:

–Lee built up a romance through 80,000 words of Machiavellian heroic fantasy. Friends of the duo scheme to throw them together alone, at last. We’re ready to see passions spark, obligations thunder, walls fall, declarations made. We get — a jump to the next day, everything settled, everyone happy, that reads like a chapter’s missing.

–Taylor put the hero in rivalry with his chief helper, which had us wondering if the helper would turn on the hero or sabotage him. Big stakes, heightened reader attention. Then a chapter starts with a paragraph saying, “during the last few nights they had settled their difficulties, and now everything ran smoothly, with X now a loyal lieutenant.”

Readers want to live in the character’s skin. You have to give them pay-offs after build-ups. Yet some scenes most of us don’t want to go through graphically.

How do you tell the difference?

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