Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U is for Undercurrents: The Key to Suspense

I've never really thought of myself as a suspense writer but a lot of readers have told me that they love the way there always seems to be this undercurrent of anticipation in my stories. That's wonderful to hear because I have long been of the opinion that the most interesting characters to write about are characters that have a secret. As a reader when I sense there is something else going on here I find it hard to put the book down until I find out if I am right or not. It doesn't necessarily have to be something evil, just something that will change the script if it was known.

Some of the critics of The Crazy Old Lady in the Attic say it was "too predictable." Perhaps their powers of detection are more powerful than others because most people seem to think the ending was quite horrible. One reviewer on Goodreads said it made her sick to her stomach (sorry) but what I would say is that it is not so important that you know exactly what was going on throughout Mattie's young life but rather that it it was going on, and why, and how coldly and callously it was carried out.

My new novel, Depraved Heart, which went off to the printer this weekend, is loaded with secrets. I found this story especially interesting to write because the story is told not only through narration but also through letters and blog posts. It was a fun way to write! As I move on to my next work, The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall, I am keeping an eye on that undercurrent of tension that builds to what I think is a powerful conclusion. I don't know how readers will find it but this writer is having a great time.

This blog post is part of the April 2012 A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. Thanks for visiting.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you - secrets make for an intriguing read and if I care enough about the character, a page turner.


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