Writing Prompt #14 – Creating Suspense

This week we were honored to host suspense novelist Linda Hall for a guest post, so it’s time to put her lessons into practice.

Creating Suspense in FictionYou’ve recently purchased a new house, and it’s your first night there. What happens?

(Need a refresher on creating suspense? Check out Linda’s guest post on Painting Your Characters into A Corner and Marcy’s earlier post on Creating Suspense In Fiction.)

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2 comments on “Writing Prompt #14 – Creating Suspense

  1. What a romantic notion…my own cottage on the lakefront on three acres of land, most of it wooded. The middle of nowhere is densely populated compared to my new neighbourhood. My own private getaway.

    I was a little hesitant when the real estate agent said there was no Internet or cell phone coverage. But that’s OK. Town is only an hour by boat. It’s two by what she kindly referred to as a road. It’s a good thing I bought my brother’s old four by four.

    “What was that?” I jump and throw my popcorn all over the kitchen floor. “Great…and after I’d buttered it. Besides, it was just a rumble of thunder. Nothing to worry about.”

    I pick up most of the popcorn and put it back in the bowl. “Who’s gonna know? And I did scrub the floor yesterday. Or was it the day before? Oh, well…” I’d been getting things ready for this, my first night in my own place.

    I snuggle under the throw on my couch made of rustic logs and cushions I sewed myself. Not bad for a first try.

    I promised myself I’d leave the TV off during the day, but I figured it would be OK to watch a movie each night before crawling into bed. There may be no reception up here, but at least I can choose from the three or four dozen VCR tapes the previous owners left behind. Not bad choices either. Most of them at least.

    I have no idea why I chose a thriller. But with a storm moving in and all those voices in my head that said I couldn’t do this, that I’d go running back to the city the first time I heard a twig snap, I was out to prove something.

    The screen still black, I hear the creaking of wooden steps.

    “What the…” I look toward the front door, just past the TV.

    Then the lights slowly come up on the screen. The front door of an old cabin fills the screen.

    I laugh.

    “Boy, this old set has pretty good speakers. That sounded just a little too realistic.”

    I hunker down and pull the cover under my chin. The storm moves in – outside my cottage and on the screen.

    The camera pans away from the cabin, Hitchcock-style, and the villain goes back down the steps and around to the back door. A hand reaches out to try the knob.

    I swear I hear the doorknob behind me rattle…

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