Sunday, October 17, 2010

Useful cooperative inquiry

Wow--I got such great ideas from my fellow writers in the Eng. 44B class on how to increase the mood of suspense in our work. We are using a Cooperative Inquiry process, the same as I used with my dissertation group of women that produced Creating Juicy Tales (on now).

We came up with six ways to increase tension:

1. Fool the reader about the character’s consciousness state: Dreaming vs. reality.

2. Have the character wonder about another character’s desires and fear them.

3. Give access to the character’s worried thoughts and doubts over a secret.

4. Describe the character’s physical manifestations of worry.

5. Show the character make an assumption that the reader could see might be wrong.

6. Add in adverbs and adjectives used by professional writers in an effective suspense scene.

I used #s 2, 3, and 4 for a scene in Ch. 2, House of Cuts, that really kicked up the tension! Onward to prepare for next week's Novel Writer's Workshop in Moke Hill.

Great to see such a lot of Comments *:)



  1. Three gold stars for enthusiasm! Onward! You've got it going!

  2. Okay, thanks for posting these ideas. Every little bit HELPS!! An aspiring WRITER:-)

  3. This is great stuff.Thanks for sharing. I will try to incorporate these great tension ideas in my short story for class.

  4. These are some great ideas. Especially 2,3 & 4. They seem as though they would make a character more easy to relate to.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Hello June,

    Im having little difficulty with this whole posting situation but i am a follower and hopefully soon will began my postings.

  7. Finally have my blogg up.... confusing but it's done (i think)

  8. Nancy, what is your URL for your blog?

    (the http:// address we can use to get to it)

  9. I like number 3 the best because whenever there's a secret that my characters hiding I can use it to my advantage to make the readers wonder what happened to them.

    Chelsea Layfield

  10. This is great! I'm hoping I can try a few or all of these in my story.

  11. fabfivenumber5, yes a secret is a useful tool for building suspense, for sure!

  12. Thanks for the ideas you posted. It helps me alot getting tips from other writter to make a story better.