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A Study of Suspense
Transcript of A Study of Suspense
photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli
Suspense is a technique that writers
use to make the reader feel:
- scared - excited
- anxious - uneasy
- tense - unsettled
- in a state of disequilibrium
Which two words will help you remember
what suspense is? Write them down.
SPECIFIC WRITING STRATEGIES
YOU CAN USE TO BUILD SUSPENSE
Use short sentences to build up the tension
Use ellipsis ( … ) to create the dramatic pause
Use the hyphen ( - ) to suddenly interrupt thoughts
Use simile and metaphor for comparisons
Use onomatopoeia to make some noise
VERBS = onomatopoeia (the door CREAKED open)
* Make up words to imitate sounds (vroom)
#5: LISTEN TO PROFESSIONAL WRITERS
View video of writer Malorie Blackman
discuss how she creates tension in her
writing. Record 2 pieces of advice.
- a time management technique-
The producers of
start with a fast paced scene containing perilous action to immediately build suspense.
Now YOU try creating a suspenseful fast-paced scene
using one of the following subjects as your inspiration:
Subject possibilities- if you have your own idea, then use it!
a car (or bicycle) chase
an object heading towards you
Sample Paragraph containing all 3 strategies
Under the weight of Brady's foot, the splintered floorboards groaned like a menacing beast. His heart pounded. His hands shook. His legs trembled. Sweat poured down his back. The silence buzzed louder in his ears as fear paralyzed his throat and devoured his last shred of courage. And then he saw them... the piercing demonic eyes glowing in the corner.
Simile: "Floorboards groaned like a menacing beast"
here builds tension. What did he see? Tell me! Tell me !
"And then he saw them
#4: POWERFUL VERBS
improves your writing dramatically!
Convey EMOTION through specific verbs you carefully choose!
1. Choose one verb from the list below
walk - fear - cry - think
- talk - yell - run
2. Go to www.thesaurus.com
3. Find 5 synonyms you like
4. Put them on the continuum from strongest to weakest
His heart pounded.
His hands shook.
His legs trembled.
Sweat poured down his back.
Ready To Try?
View all 3 pictures
Go to the next slide and follow directions!
#6 PACING & SUSPENSE
View the following clip from
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
How time is managed to create tension?
#6. FAST PACING & SUSPENSE
(click arrow at bottom of
video to play)
#2: IN WRITING, SENSORY IMAGES BUILD SUSPENSE
- Authors can create suspense in their writing by using
- In other words,
you are reading can make YOU FEEL uneasy/tense/
The Perfect Storm
trailer & create a list of sensory images that you would use if you were to write a scene from the storm.
I can name specific techniques used to create suspense
I can recognize suspense techniques in writing and film
I can explain the effect the techniques have on the reader/viewer
Using 1 of the 3 pictures as your inspiration,
write a short suspenseful scene which includes 3 suspense writing techniques (the ones you just listed) and at least 1 sensory image.
Use Sentence Length Strategically:
short sentences tospeed up action and add
Use Punctuation Selectively
ellipsis (dramatic pause maker)
hyphen (sudden thought interrupter)
Use Figurative Language
simile or metaphor
*Include Sensory Imagery
View the Scene
#7: PACING & SUSPENSE
While authors can manipulate time to SPEED action, they can also slow things down and use SLOW MOTION to emphasize moments. BOTH CAN CREATE SUSPENSE.
Now it's your turn to try!
Come up with an idea for a scene where you could SLOW DOWN TIME to create suspense.
Click arrow at bottom of video to play
Put your name on your notes and turn in to your class's basket.
Record your notes on your handout. Notice how there is a section on the handout for each stop on the Prezi.