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Transcript of Pennzilla Suspense
photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli
What is Suspense?
Suspense is a technique that writers
use to make the reader feel:
desperate to know what happens next!
- in a state of disequilibrium
Which two words will help you remember
what suspense is? Write them down.
Technique #2: Writing Style
Specific writing techniques used to create SUSPENSE
- Use short sentences to build up the tension
- Use ellipsis ( … ) to create the dramatic pause: "What happens next?"
-Use the hyphen ( - ) to suddenly interrupt thoughts
- Use simile and metaphor for comparisons
- make some noise (onomatopoeia)
VERBS (the door CREAKED open)
* words that imitate sounds (jingle, ding- dong)
Listen to writer Malorie Blackman
talking about how she creates tension
in her writing; then view
Indiana Jones: Raider's of the Lost Ark
's opening scene
TECHNIQUE 4: PACING
The writers of Indiana Jones used
- a time management technique- to create suspense with immediate high paced perilous action.
Now try creating a suspenseful
scene using one of the following subjects as your inspiration:
Subject possibilities- if you have your own idea, then use it!
-an object heading towards you
- being followed
- land slide/ storm surge/ giant wave/ tornado
-a teacher waiting for you at the classroom door
The floorboards groaned like a menacing beast. John's heart pounded. His hands shook. His legs trembled. Sweat poured down his back. He could feel the piercing eyes sizing him up from the shadowy corners... Stumbling forward, the nightmare buzzed louder filling the silence with dreadand fear invaded his mind devouring his last shred of courage...
Simile: "Floorboards groaned
like a menacing beast"
What happens next? The ellipsis creates excitement.
Eyes watched him from dark corners ...
TECHNIQUE #3: POWERFUL VERBS
like crept, whispered, raced ...CONNOTATION is EVERYTHING!
Convey EMOTION through a specific words you choose!
- Choose one of the words from the list below
walk - fear - cry - frown - run -think - talk - yell - chase - worry - sweat - breathe
- go to www.thesaurus.com
- find 5 synonyms which show a progression of intensity.
His hands shook. His legs trembled.
1 of the 3
following pictures to write a suspenseful
Technique 4: PACING
While authors can use PACING (manipulation of time) to SPEED action up, authors also use SLOW MOTION to emphasize moments of high tension which in turn creates suspense.
View this clip from
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
How time is managed to create tension?
Why did the writers of Indiana Jones start the movie with this scene?
Technique 1: Sensory Imagery
Authors can create a suspenseful mood in their writing by using
In other words,
while you are reading can make YOU FEEL uneasy/tense/unsettled/etc...
The Perfect Storm
trailer and create a list of sensory images (1 per sense) that a film critic would use to describe the scene for a reader.
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
Now that you've viewed the three pictures, write your scene. Include all of the following elements:
- use a series of very short sentences to speed up action and add tension
*Use Punctuation Effectively
(dramatic pause maker)
(sudden thought interrupter)
*Use Figurative Language
- simile or metaphor
*Include Sensory Imagery