We all know there’s no question that tension helps a scene, but what amazes me as a writer is how easily the potential for it can be overlooked.
Recently, I was writing a scene in my WIP and found my characters being, well, a little too chummy. They were meeting for coffee. They were laughing. They were getting along so damn well. It was delightful! It was precious! It was…
…dull as a fast-food knife.
Now don’t get me wrong: I want them to be chummy and ultimately I need them to be chummy, but what’s the rush? The scene was reading ho-hum.
Until I added tension.
Suddenly Susan and her father weren’t so glad to see each other on this bright and cozy morning. Suddenly Susan was cross because her father had offered something precious of Susan’s late mother to a stranger.
What had begun as a cheery, mushy–and daresay, throwaway–scene suddenly turned into a thrusting-head-long rocket into the plot.
And it didn’t stop there. More tension followed. More things that Susan and her father (and several other characters, of course) were losing, or wanting, or both.
Tension, I adore you.
You make writing and reading a heck of a lot more fun.
So what about you all? What’s rubbing your characters the wrong way lately?