What Happens Next: Writing Suspense in Fiction


Why do some stories make us lean forward? How do some books keep us turning the pages long past when our better judgment has told us to go to bed? The answer is suspense. And it belongs in every kind of story.

Suspense is more than just whodunnit (or whydunnit). Suspense is the necessary ingredient to get a reader invested in your story. Tension is created when we are emotionally invested in the characters but don't know what will happen to them. The stakes are high, the questions are unanswered, and the release awaits us if only we keep reading.

What is the central question of your story? This is a promise you make to the reader, a promise you must fulfill to make reading your work a gratifying experience. In this week-long workshop, we will identify this central question and expand outwards to see how it connects to every scene, character, and setting. Each day will include in-class writing and longer exercises to develop between sessions. We will study examples from other writers, and each participant will be able to workshop some of their writing. By the end of the week, your writing should be well on its way to being "un-put-downable."

In this workshop, we will generate new writing through exercises and assignments, and provide feedback on the writing you produce in our week.

Hybrid Forms
Middle Grade
Science Fiction
Short Story
Speculative Fiction
Young Adult
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