Introduction: How to Write a Short Suspense Story

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Are you looking for a short story that will not only capture your interests and imagination, but will also shock you, thrill you, and make sure that you are always looking forwards to the next chapter? If this is you, and you're in a library, high chances are that you will pick up a suspense book. Suspense stories are full of thrills, and excitement, that never really ends, even after the stories' resolution. But how do you write a book like this? How are these delicate plots woven into stories and transferred on to paper? Here is how to write an amazing short suspense story using certain literary aspects.

Step 1: Brainstorm Ideas

Draw out a brainstorm with the title of your short suspense story in the middle. Choose a sub theme that follows the plot in your short story- eg thriller, or romance. Choose a setting (time and place). Make up a problem, and a resolution in your brainstorm. The plot should be developed in this phase. You may also want to draw a writing triangle, to help you locate rising action, the climax (the most important part) and the aftermath. Think of possible conflicts that your characters could face. Maybe one of them gets lost in the forest! Perhaps one is being wrongly framed for murder!

Step 2: Plan the Outline of Your Story

Outline your story. Aside from the plot, you need to plan the layout of your story. What will happen in paragraph 1, as opposed to paragraph 3? Will the resolution be in the last, or second to last paragraph? Identify the beginning middle, and end of your story.

Step 3: Develop Your Characters

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Characters are just as important in short suspense stories than they are in any other short story ever written! Characters bring a fuller feeling to the story, and give it life. You may want to start by documenting down all the attributes that you want in your characters. Perhaps, one character will always wear a hat. There may also be a character who is very stubborn. However, this is a suspense short story. You may want to give your characters attributes that are very typical for a story in which suspense is involved. For example, one character could be very mysterious (direct characterization) and may always have a trenchcoat on (indirect characterization). Make sure your character fits in the story's plot. If the character has relations, draw a relation graph. Collect all the direct and indirect characterizations about your character in a bullet point list, and you will be ready to go.

Step 4: List Literary Aspects to Use

In suspenseful short stories, certain literary aspects have to be used. In this case, the literary aspects are setting, characterization, imagery, conflict, and foreshadowing. All of these aspects play a part in the effective writing of a suspense short story.
-Setting must be used to create an atmospheric mood that is permanent until a setting change. Setting should have already been figured out in the brainstorm.
-Imagery describes how the reader should feel at any certain moment using the five senses.
-Characterization can make a character more (or less) relatable, and it can also give hints about what will happen next in the story. It can be direct (using adjectives) or indirect ( the author writing about things that make you feel a certain way about a character)
-Foreshadowing creates dramatic irony when it drops subtle hints about the climax of the story and/or the fate of a character. All of these should be used in the creation of a great suspense story. Make sure you keep these in mind when writing.
-Conflict is the basis of a great story. It should have been made in the brainstorm.

Step 5: Consider the Point of View

The point of view can either be first, second or third person. Third person provides an outside view on what is happening, but in first person, the story is told by a characters point of view. In second person, you are inside the story. However, this is less commonly used. Choose a point of view that will add effect to the story.

Step 6: Add in Your Plot to the Outline

This is when you go back to your outline and fill in the blanks. When you first outlined, you probably did not know much about what your story will be about. But now you do, so go back and put in the plot details. eg. Instead of "paragraph 1",write in: "introduction: Bill is running away from murderer: flashback to wedding", or something like that.

Step 7: Start Writing

It is now time to pick up your pen and start writing your first draft! When you start off your first chapter, make sure that you start with a sentence that hooks the reader. You would much rather pick up a book that starts in the middle of a chase than a book that starts with somebody mowing their lawn, wouldn't you? I sure would. Refer to your previously made outline to write your story, and make sure you have your list of characters and their attributes at hand. Also, write down the literary aspects on a separate sheet of paper so you don't forget them. Make sure all of them are used in your story.

Step 8: End Writing

Finish the story by wrapping up with a solution to the conflict. You may also want to leave the reader hanging with a cliffhanger which does not resolve the problem, and rather leaves you at the climax.

Step 9: Spellcheck and Proofread

Go over and re read your own work. Read all the paragraphs and check if there are any punctuation mistakes or capitalizing mistakes as well as spelling.

Comments

aartcritique (author)2015-11-15

Actually, many publishers and professional editors consider things like starting with the main character running from something a cliché. It can also be very hard to relate to the character or get to know and like him/her if the book starts in the center of the action. Unless you are good at fast characterization, I recommend avoiding introductions like this.

I don't mean to sound nit-picky, but I'm also a writer. I've nearly tried every opening cliché in the books, from starting with dreams to beginning with an epic battle. No matter how well I wrote the scenes, they still came out sounding like exactly what they were - clichés. Eventually, I decided to be creative and come up with something of my own. I love it so far.

I'm actually still working on my book. I've re-written it countless numbers of times, and I like each draft better than the last. I encourage you all to keep writing, and to opt for the best, most original story you can make. :)

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