Tension keeps the reader hooked. Masters of tension know how to manipulate us because they know what makes us tick. They use our own psychology against us, keeping our eyes glued to the screen or the page–twisting us all up into ball of contradiction and unanswered questions, spinning us so we’re never sure where to look, leading us on a merry uphill chase, and allowing us to think we may have reached the answer right before kicking us back down the street and into a stranger’s yard where everything blows apart and we’re left to try and make sense of the pieces.
There are few books that have made me this tense in my life–probably a result of the fact that I’m not big on suspense novels. I don’t think a book necessarily has to fit into that genre to make my heart feel like it’s about to rip out of my chest and do the Can-can across the floor. In fact, the last book that did this to me was Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop which is a fantasy novel. But suspense novels are written with the express purpose of doing just that–they are wonderfully intricate machines of thought that turn you inside out.
What book is causing such delicious frustration that I’ve purposely left it in the other room because I really, really want to find out what happens next but am so twisted up, I can’t stand to turn the page? Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It’s one of many on my long I’ve-saved-you-up-for-summer-and-now-here-it-finally-is-so-YAY!-let’s-do-this summer reading list.
What I’ve taken away from this experience is namely this: I need to go back in the other room and turn that page. I need to read more books like these as articles or books on the craft of writing suspense because I WANT TO MAKE MY READERS FEEL LIKE THIS!
What are some books you’ve read–in any genre–that were so good you had to put them down?
Michelle Joyce Bond