Creating Tension

As novelists we are always being taught to create TENSION. Sometimes this is laughable because, seriously, do we really need to learn this.

I had tension at dinner time when my daughter was throwing her food.

And what about earlier this week when I realized I need 2 washer & dryers in order to get enough laundry done in an afternoon.

The Major and I are considering how our first deployment is going to go in a few months.

Sometimes our lives don't need ANY. MORE. TENSION!

Link for image: HERE

But, {sigh} alas we must.

Watch any reality show and you'll learn what you need to know about tension. Producers are amazing at this. They find the spark and BANG...that's not only the clip that gets into the preview but you, as the watcher, are waiting...waiting...waiting for it. Like who's Project Runway design looked like a Halloween costume instead of super expensive & chic? (by the way, last week it was JOSH's awfully pretty in the front awfully awful in the back get-up that he designed!)

Or on Design Star who's paired up with who and complaining about not being the leader or hates the color on that person's wall. Or the person who CONSTANTLY is talking about EVERYTHING they are good at and what they've done for the past 15 years. Seriously...that makes me tense just thinking back to the last season.

It's why we watch, right? Okay, maybe not the ONLY reason why we watch, but it definitely helps the stakes to be high enough that we want to see WHO WILL WIN!

So as a writer, it is what I must do. Raise the stakes. Give the characters something to lose and the reader something to invest in. I'm learning. I'm learning. I'm learning...

YOUR TURN: It's all about tension! Don't you hate a scene that has chit-chat...uh, how are you? I'm fine. You? Yep, I'm good. BORING! What's a pet peeve of yours when you read and it seems like the tension is a flop. Tell me. Tell me. I really want to know!


Cheers,
Elizabeth

PS: What am I reading? WHITE by Ted Dekker. A-mazing!