On Building Suspense and Creating Tension

Hi Folks, I recently listened to a 6-week classic workshop from WMG Publishing titled “Adding Suspense.” It was a useful workshop, but it became much more useful once I subsitituted “tension” for “suspense” as the instructor, Dean Wesley Smith, spoke. The substitution enabled me to separate the suspense that is an aspect of fiction from the suspense that is the old genre (think Alfred Hitchcock) and that morphed into the modern thriller genre. Suspense remains also … Read more


Hi Folks, Despite what most of us heard in school (from non-writers, ahem), you don’t have to keep everything about a particular topic in one massive paragraph. Especially in fiction. And blog posts. In fiction, you should begin a new paragraph every time a different character speaks. Most everybody knows that. You should also begin a new paragraph when the scene or setting changes (even in the same setting, even a little). The primary benefit of … Read more

The Importance of Paragraphs

Hi Folks, While glancing over the internet awhile back for items of interest, I checked in on a blog I’d saved in my bookmarks but hadn’t looked at recently. When I save one in my bookmarks, it’s because I hope it will provide valuable, or at least valid, information. A writer posed this implied question: I have trouble trying to figure out when to begin and end paragraphs and when to have dialogue included in the … Read more

On Pacing and Paragraphing

Hey Folks, A few days ago as I write this, I was reading one of my magic realism stories to my grandson. “The Storyteller” by Gervasio Arrancado. I wrote the thing several years ago, and I knew nothing about pacing. Or paragraphing, for that matter. As I read it aloud to him, I got bored. Massively bored. I know it’s a good story, yet I found myself wondering what reader could possibly enjoy wading through this … Read more