I love these tips on writing suspense, which were a big help to me while I worked through my last WIP. I supplement with stills from some of my MOST favorite hitchcock films.
The post is originally from the Writer's Digest site and written by Simon Wood.
Some of my favorite of Mr. Wood's tips include:
Use time constraints. Ahh, all hail the ticking clock. It can amp stakes up in a big way.
Keep the stakes high! As Wood points out, it's not necessarily about "global annihilation." Instead, "the story must be about a crisis that's devastating to the protagonist's world."
Apply pressure. Your protag must face seemingly insurmountable odds. "All [her] skills and strengths must be stretched to the breaking point in order to save the day."
Create dilemmas. I love Sophie Kinsella's ability to set up an awkward dilemma that turns into a misunderstanding at the MOST inopportune moment. As Wood puts it, "the choice must seemingly be a lose-loss situation for the protagonist."
Complicate things. Or as Wood says, "Pile on the problems."
and finally, Create both real good villains and really good heroes.
Wood closes by saying "suspense writing is all about creating a pressure cooker with no relief valve."
All excellent advice about building suspense in your writing. Please check out the FULL article.