NYC Midnight : Creative Writing & Screenwriting Homepage
Forum Home Forum Home > GENERAL DISCUSSION > Creative Writing Corner
  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - What Would Qualify as Suspense?
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

What Would Qualify as Suspense?

 Post Reply Post Reply
Author
Message
angelamust1 View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Newbie
NYC Midnight Newbie


Joined: 13 Jul 2019
Status: Offline
Points: 52
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote angelamust1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: What Would Qualify as Suspense?
    Posted: 14 Sep 2019 at 11:50am
I read the website's definition of suspense, and in general, I know what it is, but I'm having a hard time distinguishing it from several other genres. Every idea I think of could fit into one of the other categories: comedy, drama, crime caper, spy, mystery, and thriller. I don't want to be disqualified for not writing something that correctly fits in the genre, so how do I make sure not to do that? If I wrote something fairly light-hearted, for example, would that still qualify as suspense? How serious does the story have to be? I mean, mysteries and crime capers create suspense, but if my story sounds too much like one of those, would the judges dock me for it?
Back to Top
LyndaD View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Addict
NYC Midnight Addict


Joined: 04 Aug 2015
Location: Visalia, Ca
Status: Offline
Points: 1121
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote LyndaD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Sep 2019 at 12:05pm
Suspense is that slow build. It often overlaps with other genres, which the judges don't seem to mind. Your story can have elements of another genre, as long as the suspense-building is evident through the story.
For example, a spy story where the villain has a bomb set to detonate and the protagonist is scrambling to find and deactivate it. If you focus on the countdown, the limited time, the high stakes -- then you have suspense.
Back to Top
angelamust1 View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Newbie
NYC Midnight Newbie


Joined: 13 Jul 2019
Status: Offline
Points: 52
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote angelamust1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Sep 2019 at 12:21pm
All right, that's helpful. Thank you!

So, I'm still a little unsure about the idea I think I want to go with. It involves a contest. Would a contest qualify as suspense? I mean, it's suspenseful because you're wondering who's going to win. But then again, in such a short story, why would readers care about who wins? I've got to brainstorm a little more, but I don't want to run with this idea if it would be totally wrong for the genre.
Back to Top
TammyB View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Addict
NYC Midnight Addict
Avatar

Joined: 13 Jul 2018
Location: virginia
Status: Offline
Points: 687
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote TammyB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Sep 2019 at 12:50pm
Originally posted by angelamust1 angelamust1 wrote:

All right, that's helpful. Thank you!

So, I'm still a little unsure about the idea I think I want to go with. It involves a contest. Would a contest qualify as suspense? I mean, it's suspenseful because you're wondering who's going to win. But then again, in such a short story, why would readers care about who wins? I've got to brainstorm a little more, but I don't want to run with this idea if it would be totally wrong for the genre.

THis might be a little tricky here. Suspense is an unknown situation, event or threat that produces anxiety and fear and needs to be resolved. It’s a slow build and the main character doesn’t originally know what the threat/event is. The reader knows who the bad guy is, and they are wondering if he/she will be caught on time.

I don’t think a contest would be right. Unless the contest is actually (you need to win or else this will happen).
FF19CH1 A Collector’s Obsession
FF18CH1 BURIED IN LOVE
FF18CH2 DOG-GONE MICROCHIP
WRITE ON!
Back to Top
angelamust1 View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Newbie
NYC Midnight Newbie


Joined: 13 Jul 2019
Status: Offline
Points: 52
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote angelamust1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Sep 2019 at 1:23pm
*Sigh* Oh, well. I already went too far with the idea now, and I don't have a lot of time this weekend. Contests are suspenseful to me. Personally, anytime I watch a contest, I feel like I'm in suspense. And what about light-hearted suspense? 

Ugh, I just looked over what I read so far, and I'm pretty sure it doesn't work as suspense, in any case. But I've got nothing else even though I feel like it's a prompt where I should be able to come up with something. I guess I'll just see how this goes.
Back to Top
meghanf View Drop Down
Newbie
Newbie
Avatar

Joined: 20 Jul 2019
Location: Vancouver, WA
Status: Offline
Points: 3
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote meghanf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Sep 2019 at 4:37pm
I think a contest can be pretty suspenseful, especially in a short story. So go with it, and if it seems like it's not enough suspense, try amping it up to 10, switching things around, obscuring what the contest is about to reveal it at the end or even shortening your sentences to build tension. 

Or something.

(I also have suspense as my genre. I'm building suspense in my own life by mucking around on the forums instead of starting to write from my sketchy first idea outline that doesn't feel like it has a WHY yet... SO WILL SHE ACTUALLY FINISH THIS STORY IN TIME???)
Back to Top
squintywitch View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Groupie
NYC Midnight Groupie
Avatar

Joined: 14 May 2019
Location: Uk
Status: Offline
Points: 198
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote squintywitch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Sep 2019 at 8:10am
I struggled with this as well--I ended up slightly turning it on its head so that the main character knows the danger she's in but it only slowly unfolds to the reader. Hopefully it'll be tense enough that it still counts! 
C3 GR7:
Red Sky at Night, (Action adventure, remote village, peppermint candy)

Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Forum Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 12.03
Copyright ©2001-2019 Web Wiz Ltd.

This page was generated in 0.218 seconds.