Category Archives: Tension

How To Turn Your Setting Into An Obstacle Course

  Becca and I are big believers in making the setting work hard in EVERY scene. A terrific way to do this is to turn a setting into a magnet for conflict. After all, the hero or heroine’s path to … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Conflict, Description, Emotion, Pacing, Setting Thesaurus Guides, Show Don't Tell, Tension, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 17 Comments

Friends as Enemies

One thing that Angela and I discovered time and again as we put the Rural and Urban Setting Thesaurus books together is just how influential the setting is on a story. Setting has its collective fingers in a lot of … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Conflict, Emotion, One Stop For Writers, Subtext, Tension, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 9 Comments

10 Reasons Why Your Hero Needs Flaws

When we see the word Hero or Heroine, we think heroic, which is ironic because our protagonists are usually anything but at the start of a story. Instead they are often jaded, lost or incomplete in some way, toting along … Continue reading

Posted in Character Flaws, Character Wound, Characters, Experiments, Show Don't Tell, Tension, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 18 Comments

Books I Didn’t Finish, AKA, What Killed it For Me

I like keeping lists. And I like books. So I guess it makes sense that I have a lot of book lists. Books To Read, Books I’ve Finished, Books I Want to Buy, and possibly the most informative one: Books I … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Tension, Uncategorized, What Killed it For Me, Writing Craft | 43 Comments

Conflict vs Tension

I’m in the middle of exploring a new story idea, which means I’m knee-deep in notes, questions, character interviews, and everything else that goes into the planning process. As Jo March liked to say, “Genius is burning,” and I’m terrified … Continue reading

Posted in Conflict, Tension, Uncategorized | 32 Comments

Building Suspense: Meeting Readers In The Middle

When thriller author Donna Galanti contacted me about guest posting here at The Bookshelf Muse on building suspense, I was all over it! As a writer on the dark side of Middle Grade and Young Adult, suspense is as alluring … Continue reading

Posted in Guest Post, Pacing, Tension | 38 Comments

Swoonworthy Characters, Pre-Apocalyptic Reading, and More

We’re in desperate straits, people. DESPERATE STRAITS. Due to my aversion to being sued for using permission-restricted images, I tried REALLY HARD to find the perfect public domain pics for today’s post. No dice. So I decided to make my … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Conflict, Tension, Uncategorized | 23 Comments

KM Weiland on Reverse Outlining

I am THRILLED to feature writing guru K.M. Weiland on the blog today to discuss Outlining. As a reformed panser, I have seen my writing evolve by embracing outlining techniques. And while I’m not a full outliner yet, it is … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Contests, Guest Post, Pacing, Tension, Writing Resources | 117 Comments

Tension-Filled Books

So, after my last post on tension, Christine Mandiloff asked for suggestions of other books where tension is used well. I had to think about this, but I’ve come up with a few that I think are fitting, for different … Continue reading

Posted in Book Review, Reading, Tension, Uncategorized | 31 Comments

Frustration: Your Novel’s Best Friend

You’re thinking that title must be a typo, aren’t you? It isn’t, I promise. 🙂 Frustration is awesome. Sure, as writers, we want NOTHING to do with this emotion. Between manuscripts returning from critique partners with their guts ripped out … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Emotion, Tension | 43 Comments