Storytelling Element: Tension

One of the (almost) universal story elements is that you want to keep reading. Or at least, you should want to keep reading - otherwise the author's done something wrong.

In the absence of a really good term for that, we're going to call it "Tension." Some might argue that it's the "Rising Action" of the three-act structure, but I think you can have narrative tension apart from the series of events that make up the body of your plot.

I don't keep reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone because I want to see what Voldemort does with Harry when he catches him. I keep reading because Harry is a person engaged in schoolyard interactions with other people, and there's a natural tension any time people interact (because conflict is a real thing).

The point is - tension isn't about the bigger, badder plot explosions waiting around the corner. It's not about the STUFF that's happening (although you can definitely use that as a tool to increase tension if that's your style). Rather, tension is more immediate for the reader when it's coming from relationships between characters. Friends, siblings, traveling companions, coworkers, rivals, reluctant allies - your options are literally limited only by your imagination.

And if you want a really awesome breakdown of the Romance Subplot and what tension usually goes with that, I'd highly recommend this video by Overly Sarcastic Productions in their series, "Trope Talks."


I'll see you again on Friday! Until next time, stay awesome, readers.

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to let me know! Feedback is always, ALWAYS appreciated!

#Storytelling #Elements

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