Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Dangers of Writing Suspense

{I have another Love Inspired Suspense coming in September, and I'm eagerly awaiting the cover. If you'd like to be the first to see it and have the opportunity to win an advance copy, sign up for my author newsletter. Thanks!}

I’m starting a new story. I love this phase of brainstorming and creating characters and figuring out the villain and watching them all interact.

To fit in writing with six children at home, I usually tuck the younger ones away in a bedroom to play quietly or read (since they’re beyond the age of napping now). This is what I did a couple of days ago to get some time to start my new story. I had settled at my desk with a huge glass of iced tea (half sweet – half unsweet J ) and was beginning to set the opening scene. My oldest teen daughter was working quietly on homework at a desk next to mine, and my other two teenagers were on the couch behind me reading. My husband had come home from work a little early, and he was finishing up a work project on another laptop behind me.

It was a dark and stormy afternoon. A gray gloominess filled the room, despite the little globe lights that hung from the desk hutch. Rain pounded a steady beat on the roof.

Taking advantage of the circumstances around me, I amplified the weather and wrote it into my opening scene ~ my heroine on a bicycle in that eerie yellow haze that appears before a summer storm, the crackle of lightning behind her, the hair on the back of her neck standing at attention as she feels like someone is watching her.

I was in that scene, picturing it, feeling it, living it. Everything around me had disappeared. Only the pounding of the rain remained in my consciousness.

And then a chanting of mingled voices filtered into my hearing. An ominous rhythmic monotone that drummed into my mind.

Pedal faster, Heroine! My heart and fingers raced as I urged her on. I didn’t know how the villain had appeared so quickly, but he seemed to be there. Get away, Heroine!

I stopped typing and clutched my shirt, my brain struggling to understand where this chant was coming from in the story.

And then the chant mingled with laughter. I forced myself to focus on the room around me and found my teen daughter watching me with an amused smile stretched across her face. I turned to see my husband laughing at my fright. My two little boys stood in the doorway, chanting their rhythm. “We’ve read the book. May we come out?”

I could only smile at myself as I inhaled deeply, willing my heart to stop racing.

Does your heart race when you read suspense? How much do you immerse yourself in a story?

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1 comment:

  1. Yes! I get scared too easily. When I'm pregnant I actually can't read any suspense (or watch it) - I have really vivid dreams and nightmares during pregnancy. As a matter of fact that is usually the first clue that I am pregnant again!


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