Adding Suspense

(Originally published Nov. 6, 2007).

The learning never stops.

When I attended the Surrey International Writers Conference a couple of weeks ago, I focused on several workshops dealing with ramping up suspense and writing a good mystery. Returning home, I re-read my partial first draft of Fur Ball Fever and freaked out. Only a major re-write would save the day.

Here’s the thing. Secrets fuel mysteries.

I had given away too much, too soon. I had robbed my characters of their secrets.

This week, I am re-working my outline, scene by scene, moving all major revelations to later (much later) in the book, ensuring that every scene in Fur Ball Fever serves a purpose (either moves the plot ahead or expands the characterization), and making sure the POV character (protagonist) and  has a concrete goal (that way, there is natural conflict when the antagonist impedes the protagonist from achieving the goal).

It’s a lot of work, but the final result will be far superior.