Q&A: Creating Tension in Your Story
Q: How do you create tension without resorting to action?
A: Tension is actually the antithesis of action. Tension is all about creating anticipation. If your reader or audience anticipate violence, as in a thriller or horror film, the tension takes the form of suspense. Anticipating two people finally kissing or making love in a love story or romantic comedy creates sexual tension. In either case action will then release the tension, as the character faces the killer or monster or the couple finally connects. The more emotionally involved we are in what is about to happen, the greater the tension.
Hello Michael: Thanks again for your insights.
I use the “ticking clock” technique in my horror-dramas. Like stalking, or showing the character performing an act within a net time-frame. The anticipation of the act involves the reader more in the tension and the conflict than the actual occurrence.