Wherein No One is Safe

I won’t lie to you, today’s post is inspired by three really amazing books that are hitting the stands today:

GATED by Amy Christine Parker, about a girl who grows up in a cult and finds herself dangerously at odds with the leader as the “end times” approach. A debut YA thriller from Random House Children’s.

TERMINATED by Rachel Caine, about a woman kept “alive” by a crazy dangerous drug that various groups want to control and engineer for deadly fun and profit. The really amazing conclusion to the Revivalist series from Roc Books.

BITING BAD by Chloe Neill, about a woman who was turned into a vampire against her will and now stands Sentinel for her people, which means putting herself between the Master of her House and any danger that comes his way. In this installment of the Chicagoland Vampires series from NAL, this means anti-vampire riots erupting […]

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Tension I’ve read a few submissions in the past couple of years that while beautifully written and psychologically or philosophically interesting were almost entirely without suspense. There was no tension driving the plot, no overarching conflict to keep the reader on the edge of his/her seat and turning those pages late into the night. In the end I had to decline representation, because I knew they wouldn’t sell, and if they did, it wouldn’t be in sufficient numbers to build a career.

So today I want to talk about that conflict and how you can pump it up. Whether you’re writing a romance where the primary tension is whether the hero and heroine’s issues will keep them from finding true love or a science fiction epic about the overthrow of an evil empire, a good novel needs three things. The reader must:

a) fear that the protagonists might […]

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