Suspense is an essential element of any story, and it can be used to create a variety of effects on the reader. Knowing the different types of suspense can help you identify the ones that your favorite thriller authors use most often. In this article, we'll explore the five basic types of suspense in literature and how they can be used to create a comprehensive partnership between readers and characters. Narrative or long-term suspense is the most common type of suspense used in literature. It involves a series of events that build up to a climax, leaving the reader in anticipation of the resolution.
This type of suspense is often used in thrillers and mystery novels, as it keeps the reader interested and gives the story additional layers of depth. Short-term suspense cases usually involve an argument or confrontation between characters that is resolved quickly, although it may resurface later on. For example, the initial outburst of tension between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy at the first dance of Pride and Prejudice lays the foundation for their ongoing and controversial relationship.
One of the best applications of short-term suspense is to create ending scenes or episodes that leave the reader desperately in suspense. Mystery suspense is the most traditional form of suspense, which is often used in thrillers and, of course, mystery novels. Although all suspense involves mystery in one way or another, mysterious suspense differs in that something is deliberately hidden from the reader. They know that they don't have the whole truth and that keeps them alert. Frightening suspense is when the reader knows that something terrible is going to happen, but its precise nature remains unclear, such as waiting for him to get scared in a movie. As expected, it's more common in horror and sometimes thriller novels. That's not to say that mysterious and horrible suspense can't be combined.
A novel can contain elements of both, especially if it's a murder mystery. And Then There Were None, for example, perfectly interweaves a mysterious and horrifying suspense throughout its arc, making the reader wonder “who isn't?” (mystery) and “when will they do it again?” (horrible). Stephen King's Misery is full of dreadful suspense, but perhaps none more horrifying than the infamous “limp scene”.At this point in the book, the reader fully understands that his villain, Annie Wilkes, is dangerously unstable, which contributes to his growing dread. Putting your characters in a dangerous situation is the ultimate recipe for sudden suspense (remember Stephen King's method in Misery).
It's especially useful when you're approaching the high point of your mysterious suspense arc and you need to intensify it with dreadful suspense in the short term. In conclusion, having more than one narrative suspense arc keeps readers interested and gives stories additional layers of depth. Short-term tension cases usually involve an argument or confrontation between characters that is resolved quickly. Mystery suspense is the most traditional form of suspense used in thrillers and mystery novels. Frightening suspense occurs when readers know something terrible is going to happen but its precise nature remains unclear.
Finally, sudden suspense can be created by putting characters in dangerous situations. Understanding these five types of suspense, anticipation, uncertainty, and anxiety, can help you identify which ones your favorite thriller authors use most often.