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Mastering Suspense, Structure, and Plot by Jane Cleland

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Chapter Twelve

Reveal Answers Slowly

If we knew all the answers, we’d be bored.

—Jack LaLanne

Inspire Reader Curiosity

The narrative question, that key longing or conflict that forms the overarching driver of your story, shouldn’t be answered all at once, or too early. Writing that engenders reader questions creates suspense.

Meredith Anthony used this technique in her short story, “Murder at an Ad Agency,” which was originally published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in 2013. Anthony leaves readers with more questions than answers, which builds gripping suspense.

The definition of redundant: your boss keeps snakes in his office. Jenny sighed. It was midnight and the stale air-conditioned air was scented with Chinese food, bad coffee, and the ...

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