Of Greetings and Storyboarding

4 years ago | pencahn (Member)

Hello everyone,

I'm currently storyboarding for a novel I'd like to finish by the end of this year. The process itself is going well for me, but I was wondering what the tips were for controlling tension in the story in terms of plot progression. A consistent, high tension will wear readers out, or worse, desensitize them. Too little tension and the story isn't worth caring about.

How do you use the overall plot/pace to keep readers reeled in?

Read responses...


  1. LadyAnder (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Tips for controlling tension?

    Basically, don't give your character what they want. If you character's has a goal, don't let them achieve too soon or put a couple of caveats on it that they have to figure out how to resolve or work around.

    Don't reveal too soon and on the same note, don't purposely keep context information from the reader to create an air of mystery thus creating tension. I mean there is a right and wrong way to create an air of mystery. You want readers to ask the right questions and not the ones where they are clearly confused and don't understand what's going on.

    Don't bog the story down with things like to explain backstory in one huge info-dump or a flashback. Sprinkle in character backstory through the progression of the story. Well, relevant backstory bits. I'm a firm believer in that my character's backstory shouldn't take precedence over my actual story.

    Don't introduce a subplot you aren't going to finish just for the sake of creating tension. I just don't do this because it annoys the crap out of me.

    And that's about all I can think of.

    A cross-genre slice=of-life, some adventure fluff fantasy stories about elves--> https://brotherhoodarchive.com
  2. Rhodeworks (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Don't give the reader anything more than they need to know, and identify what they probably want to know. Never provide more information than what the audience immediately needs. I agree with LadyAnder that you don't want to deliberately withhold information, nor should you introduce a subplot or a question just to generate tension artificially.

    I thought Advent, despite being somewhat predictable, had a wonderful sense of tension throughout. It's listed on WFG, so, that might give you some examples to look at.

    As far as plot and progression goes, I like stories that start slow and accelerate towards the finish from the half/last-third or so. But I like lots of character moments and for events to have weight. I actually struggle to identify a web serial that I feel is paced well.

  3. pencahn (Member)

    Posted 4 years ago

    Those are some pretty good tips. I think it's a really special book to try and elicit those tingles of anticipation as you read the story. I've read quite a few books where, even if that feeling is captured, the author can lose the reader quickly.


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