Keystroke Medium
Ep 5.08 - LIVE! Using Tension In Your Story

Ep 5.08 - LIVE! Using Tension In Your Story

March 10, 2020

Believe it or not; there is a right and wrong way to use tension in your story. Josh, Scott and Chuck sit down to talk about how to properly use tension to push your story to the next level.

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Using Tension In Your Story

Believe it or not; there is a right and wrong way to use tension in your story. Josh and Scott sit down to talk about how to properly use tension to push your story to the next level.

Hosts: Josh Hayes, Scott Moon

[00:00] Opening remarks—Dragon Award Nominations are open!

[08:17] Weekly update

Josh: Wrapping up some work on Valor #3. It will be the final book in the current series. A couple of new ideas. VALOROTICA! Wow Wow Wow! Bingeing Aaron Sorkin and Newsroom.

Breakthroughs!

Scott: Progress on Reaper #10, wrapping up series plot threads. Went back and dug up a western manuscript involving Tsarist Russian family.

[21:14] Sponsor: TS Hottle’s The Homefront Arc Omnibus: A Compact Universe Collection

[22:04] Main Event: Using Tension In Your Story!

Example: True Detectives

-How to set up your tension points to keep the story going.

-The doorbell trope

-Lost method of answering questions.

-Building tension and delivering

Example: Glotka in Joe Abercrombie’s The Blade Itself (First Law #1)  [link]

Example: Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5)  [link]

Example: Sadeas in Brandon Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archives [link]

Example: The quarter scene in No Country for Old Men

Example: Milk scene in Inglourious Basterds

Example: George R.R. Martin’s numerous deaths in A Song of Ice and Fire series [link]

Example: Cormac McCarthy’s The Road [link]

-Segue into the grimdark genre

Example: Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses [link]

Counter-Example: Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series [link]

-Sets up tension, but does not pay off (ex. North Central Positronics)

-Stakes for your character are important (Chekhov’s Gun)

Example: Richard Fox and Josh Haye’s Terra Nova [link]

Counter-example: Hale vs. Carson tension (lack of payoff in a follow-up work)

-Falsely manufactured tension (ex. A character that knows something but doesn’t tell the main character and thus the reader doesn’t know)

-Character secrets vs. reader secrets

-The reader knowing more than the character is great tension

Example: GRRM’s use of bias of knowledge and events in ASOIAF

Example: M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense

-Tension in a battle scene can be a problem if it’s continuous or repetitive.

-Scene tension vs. story tension

[56:14] Closing remarks

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