"There are many different ways to keep tension in a book and hook your readers. To me, if I can’t put down a book, I’m hooked. But as a writer, I can’t maintain suspense on every page or the reader will get exhausted. I have to include down time in the novel but it doesn’t mean I can’t keep the tension.
Here are a few techniques I use to keep the tension in between action sequences…
1) Vary your writing style. Short fast sentences tend to speed up the reading and tension; whereas, long sentences that are more narrative and descriptive will slow down the pace.
2) Watch how you cut your chapters. This is important when doing a thriller because it can make the book continue to feel like a page-turner even if the reader is in a slower scene. I always cut in the middle of a scene – at the climax - so you have to turn the page to finish. This could be in dialogue, when Grace is about to uncover a clue, or in the middle of action. It is in our nature to keep going until there is a break.
3) Use the setting. Since the woods are scary to me anyway, I try and use the setting to create tension even if nothing is happening. Sometimes our surroundings can play into the fear. The sounds. The isolation. Not knowing what is around can be scary enough if I play it right.
4) Play up the dialogue. Most people interrupt each other when they are talking. If my characters are bantering and cutting each other off, the dialogue can create a faster pace. If someone is listening while the other is telling a long story, this will slow the pace down.
5) Spread out your clues. I always go into a book with the main story but I try to create at least 2-3 different twists. I usually chose the way most would not think. Or I try to. I spread out my clues so they build a story throughout the book. I think this gives the reader the impression they are solving the mystery right alongside the main character.
Hopefully this process of creating tension hooks the reader and creates a page-turner they can’t put down – or better yet – don’t want to."
"S.R. Johannes is the author of Amazon bestselling Untraceable (a teen wilderness thriller) and new tween paranormal, On The Bright Side. She has published short novelettes as well as a teen romance anthology with 16 other authors titled, In His Eyes. Uncontrollable, the sequel to Untraceable, is scheduled for Fall 2012.
She lives in Atlanta Georgia with her dog, British-accented husband, and the huge imaginations of their little prince and princess, which she hopes- someday- will change the world. After earning an MBA and working in corporate america, S.R. Johannes traded in her expensive suits, high heels, and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and her love of writing."