Tuesday, July 13, 2010

So Many Types of Tension

Back in May, at the Backspace Writer's Conference, someone (I'd have to do some digging to figure out who, exactly) said "Every chapter should ratchet the tension up a notch." Which got me to think, as it was meant to do, about the different types of tension I use in each chapter.

The list (I'm really fond of lists, have you noticed?) started off fairly simply. Action, Romance, Character. Also pretty self-explanatory.

Then I added one for Romance/Action, because there was a chapter that had both, and it felt important to point out. Later, there came a chapter that didn't have action, or romance. I suppose I could have labeled it as character, but that didn't feel quite right. It was a big reveal moment. Okay then. Reveal got added to the list, and after talking with some Purgies over on Absolute Write, Complication, and Black Moment were also added to the list.

And today, I came across another chapter that didn't really fit into any other tension type. It got labeled Buildup. Buildup of what? Well, in this case, it's the build of tension and suspense to lead into the horrible thing that happened to one of the supporting characters.

I'm amazed by how many different types of "tension" is used in a novel. And I'm sure different people have different tension types.

Here's my question for you. If you went through and labeled each of your chapters according to the type of tension it uses to build up the over all tension of the story, what would your list look like?

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