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Writers' Toolbox

21 Ways to Fuel Your Story With Suspense

by bestselling author and writing authority Elizabeth Sims. She’s the author of seven popular novels in two series, including The Rita Farmer Mysteries and The Lillian Byrd Crime series. She’s also the author of the excellent resource for writers, You’ve Got a Book in You: A Stress-Free Guide to Writing the Book of Your Dreams, published by Writer’s Digest Books. 1. Point a finger. Mary Renault’s historical novel The Persian Boy starts with a cataclysm: The death and destruction of the protagonist’s family and home. Before dying, his father screams the name of his betrayer. Well, guess who the Persian boy will meet up with later … much later? This powerful scenario can work to create and maintain suspense in any genre. Any kind of betrayal will do: financial ruin, a broken heart, a lost opportunity. 2. Pull a false alarm. “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” is not only an […]