Saturday, 21 April 2012

Creating Drama and Tension

Well, to say Creating Drama and Tension feels a bit like my IT life right now would be quite accurate. After the mid-week blog modifications and meltdowns and yesterday's loss of ability to work as a direct result of the Smart Fortress 2012 virus, I thought I had paid my dues. But no, logging on to do tonight's post, I discover my browser is no longer supported by Blogger. Why the heck not?  Is it just doing this to wind me up?  I may have to port to Google Chrome.  Darn!
I don't like IT changes. They mess with my equilibrium. 

Anyway, enough on that for now, I have just (and I mean just, as in 'I finished 5 mins ago' just) finished my 1030 words for today.  I had family commitments this morning/afternoon. My other half knows I can't concentrate when the TV is on, whether it's reading, writing or whatever, but he made me sit through a very distracting 70s episode of The Good Life, whilst trying to write, before he did the decent thing and bogged off to make dinner, so I could finish writing and blog!

Creating Drama and Tension
Let's face it, if there was no drama and/or no tension, novels would be exceedingly boring to read. I have now introduced and detailed the main character and several of the peripheral characters in my new novel. If they lived happily ever after, without any obstacles thrown in their path, who could identify with them? Unless you are a Stepford Wife, no-one could.  I will let you into a little secret. I actually have two endings (completely different) for this second novel.  Both are full of drama and tension, but I can't decide yet which one to go with. I might end up writing both. It wouldn't be the first time an author has done so. Better to write too many thrilling episodes, than to write one bland one. At the beginning, middle or end of a novel, it doesn't do to always go the main character's way. How can we relate to that? That's not real life.  If someone achieves something too easily, where's the fun or hardship in that? How can that grip us? It can't. This is why a curveball has to be introduced, to ensure the path to happiness or success is far from smooth. Personally I believe in introducing the unexpected, but it can't be downright implausible, or readers will lose interest. Thus, tiny clues should be left, to guide them on the right path, to allow them to make the connections. Having successfully (I hope) interlaced 12 main characters in Sign of the Times, I believe I know what I'm talking about. It was also a lot of fun!  (and darned hard work!)
To create drama and tension properly in characters, I personally feel you have to know those characters inside out. Think of it as a tug of war or fight between your best friends.  You should be able to look at it from both points of view, without taking sides, but supporting the good in both arguments.
For me,drama and tension is about upsetting the applecart.  I think I did this pretty succesfully in Sign of the Times and I can think of various ways I am going to in this novel.
Next time: Going off at a Tangent and Using Your Own Experiences.
Have a great weekend, Sooz

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