My good friend Kathy on her blog Well Placed Words had an excellent entry about sagging middles. Which, like all of her entries, got me to thinking about writing. And now specifically about tension and conflict.
So here are five ways to increase tension in a manuscript.
1. Have your main character struggle with decisions. And the bigger the decision the bigger the tension. Moral dilemmas are best.
2. Pose questions that aren't answered right away. The reader will continue reading to discover the answers.
3. Have your characters possess opposing goals.
4. Clue your reader into something that the main characters are unaware of, but that will have a great impact when revealed.
5. Subplots: If each subplot has a tension-filled story arc as well as the main plot, the reader will be pulled through the book.
What are some ways you create/maintain tension in your writing?