Category Archives: Tension

Struggle With Show, Don’t Tell? Try This Ultimate Description Toolkit

Today I’m sharing some amazing tools as part of Verbaleyze’s  My Writing Toolkit event, in hopes you might find some new weapons in the battle for strong, compelling description. For those not familiar with VerbalEyze, they are a 501(c)3 nonprofit … Continue reading

Posted in About Us, Basic Human Needs, Character Arc, Character Flaws, Character Traits, Character Wound, Characters, Conflict, Description, Dialogue, Emotion, Emotion Thesaurus Guide, Empathy, High Stakes, Motivation, One Stop For Writers, Positive & Negative Thesaurus Guides, Revision and Editing, Setting Thesaurus Guides, Show Don't Tell, Subtext, Tension, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons, Writing Resources | 7 Comments

Level Up Your Setting By Thinking Outside The Box

With writers, there seems to be two camps: those who love writing setting description, and those…who…don’t. There isn’t always a lot of middle ground. Becca is definitely in the former group. She’s freakishly good at world building. Each setting she … Continue reading

Posted in Basic Human Needs, Character Wound, Characters, Conflict, Description, Emotion, Empathy, Mood and Atmosphere, Pacing, Setting, Setting Thesaurus Guides, Show Don't Tell, Tension, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 20 Comments

Deepen The Protagonist to Readers By Challenging His or Her Moral Beliefs

When we sit down to brainstorm a character, we think about possible qualities, flaws, quirks, habits, likes and dislikes that they might have. Then to dig deeper, we assemble their backstory, plotting out who influenced them, what experiences shaped them … Continue reading

Posted in Basic Human Needs, Character Arc, Character Flaws, Character Traits, Character Wound, Characters, Conflict, Emotion, Fear, Motivation, Positive & Negative Thesaurus Guides, Show Don't Tell, Tension, Uncategorized, Villains, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 10 Comments

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