Sunday, 4 October 2009

Micro tension

OK I said I wouldn't do it, but I have. For months I've been resisting buying Donald Maass's new book The Fire In Fiction. Not that I have anything against him, you understand. His earlier book The Career Novelist is a very good read and available as a free download if you haven't already seen it. It's just that my bookshelves are already fit to burst with writing books and these days I try to keep acquisitions to a minimum.

So I bought it. It's a small addiction, really. Just when I think I've got it cracked I weaken again.

But the good news it's very good and has already given me plenty to think about. I'm particularly interested in the chapter on maintaining tension throughout the story. Not an easy trick to pull off, but necessary to keep people reading. The secret, according to Maass, is micro-tension: "the moment by moment tension that keeps the reader in a constant state of suspense over what will happen, not in the story but in the next few seconds."

If you want to know how he achieves that you'll have to buy the book. Sorry, didn't mean to tease, but you could do a lot worse.


Welshcake said...

Micro-tension? Hmm. You are a tease, Sandra. I now want to read more. Is DM paying you commission?

Sandra Patterson said...

Hee hee, I wish! :-)