Dictionary definition - suspense is "a state of uncertainty".
I think I enjoy plotting and writing thrillers because they are the kind of stories I love to read myself. A good story that grips me from beginning to end with the ‘will he /won’t he' succeed motif is the best kind of tale. And the feeling that disaster is around every corner doesn't hurt either. This to me is the art of suspense. Keeping readers on the proverbial edges of their comfy sofa is what I always aim for. I know this type of book is not to everyone’s taste but for me it is the bedrock of good story telling.
One of the all time greatest proponent of the art of suspense was Alfred Hitchcock and I seem to recall reading somewhere that he said one of the greatest ways to create really good suspense was to put a bomb under a table (metaphorically speaking) where people, unbeknowingly, are playing a dull game of cards. The audience, of course, would know the bomb was there and ticking but the cast of players would not. What unbearable suspense for the audience!
|The Witcheye Gene|
I like to think my own thriller books - especially The Witcheye Gene is full of suspense. I did craft it as a page turning, thriller read that is fast paced and full of twists and turns.
I believe suspense (and some say suspense of some kind is essential in any good novel - be it romance, action, scifi or whatever) is what keeps the reader reading!
A bomb under the table doesn’t hurt either!
Do you try to put suspense in your stories?