Writing Tip: Surprise vs Suspense

When it comes to writing, I find that going back to the basics once in a while keeps writers on their toes and prevent them from falling into an « I’m too good for this » kinda mind trap.

I do not like free stuff.
Never did.
I feel like I owe something, a favor of some kind.
Back when I had the energy to have a social life, it took me years to accept a drink from a friend, and even then, I would always buy the next round.

Nevertheless, curiosity and Books with Chloe led me to a two months free trial on SKILLSHARE (nope, no affiliated link here, just me being enthusiastic, for free).
Under the creative writing tab, I stumbled upon a great video about Alfred Hitchcock, his method and how it can be applied to writing, by Morgan Lindsay Nelson, a graphic novelist.

I love those kind of videos, with exercises and examples. It really help to get out of your writing zone and try something different, even if its seems basics.

When it comes to writing, I find that going back to the basics once in a while keeps writers on their toes and prevent them from falling into an « I’m too good for this » kinda mind trap.

Surprise vs Suspense

Surprise is you turning on the light and seeing either a dead body or a room full of your friends yelling « Happy Birthday » (my personal nightmare).

Surprise!

Suspense is the killer struggling with its victim in the house while you are on way there or your partner being delayed and running late to your surprise birthday party while, again, you’re on your way.

Will the killer hide and wait? Will he flee? Will you get there in time to save the victim?
Will your partner get rid of the boss? Be able to beat the traffic? Catch the hot-air balloon to get to the party before you?

Suspense!

The very basics of Suspense

Emotion is an essential ingredient of success, said Hitchock.

  • The reader must know or have an idea of what may happen
  • One the character involve must be kept in the dark
  • Have a ticking clock doing its job
  • Play with fears, hopes, the kind of emotions every human can relate too

Thanks for reading this post. Feel free to show your support by buying a ko-fi to this crazy full-time Writer on a Quest, it is always very very much appreciated.

Until next time!

Tested writing tips: testing Chris Fox « 5,000 Words Per Hour » technique

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: This is not an affiliate post.

My opinions are my own. « 5,000 Words Per Hour » is available at Kobo and Amazon/Audible. On to the tested writing tip stuff!

Sharpen your pencil writer friends, it’s time to get writing!
Continuer la lecture de « Tested writing tips: testing Chris Fox « 5,000 Words Per Hour » technique »

Tested Writing Tip: How to make peace with adverbs

One night, the teacher in our creative writing class said: adverbs are bad.
I felt called out, probably like most of the others 20 years old students there.

One night, the teacher in our creative writing class said: adverbs are bad.

I felt called out, probably like most of the others 20 years old students there.

I was (still am) very fond of adverbs. I loved their rhythm, the way they would make emotions, places, moments clearer.

That being said, I was more eager to become a better writer than to fight for adverbs. And since, according to my teacher, a great open-minded author, relying on adverbs was a clear sign of lazy, unimaginative writing, I promptly banned them.

For years, I avoided them whenever possible, and felt like a bad writer whenever I was using them.

Over the years, I learned how to make peace with adverbs. I used them less for sure. And when I do use them, I go through these checkpoints:

  • Is it making things clearer or confusing?
  • Is the sentence flows nicely?
  • Is the adverbs necessary here?

When in doubt, I read the sentence out loud. Tell you the truth, I often read out loud, just to see if I trip on words or need to take a breath in the middle of a sentence (a clear sign that there’s a punctuation problem somewhere, or that the sentence is way too long).

So there it is, short and sweet, my tested writing tip on how to make peace with adverbs.

Thanks for reading this post. Feel free to show your support by buying a ko-fi to this crazy full-time Writer on a Quest, it is always very very much appreciated.

Until next time!

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