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4 Ways to Maintain Story Tension

When you write a story, the real difficulty is to capture the readers’ attention and keep going with it. In this article on the Narrative Theory, we explain how to maintain the story tension.

What is the story tension?

The story tension is helpful to keep the reader glued to the pages. It is that feeling of involvement that leads the reader to continue reading. When a narration is thrilling and captivating, the reader can’t wait to know how the story ends and is encouraged to go to the last pages. It also has to do with the climax, a tension that builds to a climax.

According to the American writer Jerry B.Jenkins, There are four main ways to maintain the story tension.

1) Create a conflict in which characters are involved

This is the first way to keep up the tension in a narration.

Before you start writing, you should already have an idea of the story, the characters, and what’s going to happen. Creating an event, a conflict, that your characters must overcome is a trick to capture the reader’s attention and keep them engaged.
Over the course of the story, the reader becomes attached to the characters and needs to know how they will overcome and deal with the conflict.
Therefore, the conflict can be an internal difficulty for the character, a breakup with another character in the story, or finally, an external situation. The key thing is that the conflict threatens the main purpose your protagonists are fighting for or someone they care about.

2) Create a various flows of tension

However, creating tension does not mean writing about an event that one after the other causes endless twists and turns. This would have a counterproductive effect on the reader’s attention. It would confuse them and risk boring them with exaggerated suspense.
Instead, the best way is to create a varied flow of tension, with quieter moments and moments of high tension. In this way, there will be moments in the narrative where the readers will hold their breath and others where they can relax.

3) Raise the expectations and the risk

If the character, or characters, managed to deal with all the difficulties right away, it would be hardly believable. Also, the tension would be gone in a very short time. Instead, what keeps it high is seeing the protagonist’s many attempts to get to their goal.
In the narrative, it is also nice that there is a moral: keep trying, even failing, until you reach your goal. So the third way to keep the tension going is to show the path that the characters follow, with victories and failures, until the story’s conclusion.

4) Create some curiosity

The fourth and final way, perhaps the most important way, is to maintain the reader’s curiosity. When you create an event that triggers the feeling of tension, you also need to talk about something that interests the reader and piques their curiosity.

Use bibisco to sort out your ideas

There are four effective ways to maintain tension in a narrative as we’ve listed. However, it is essential to have certain elements in mind, such as the characters, the relationships between them, and the story’s purpose.
bibisco and its innovative book writing software allow you to rearrange the ideas to start writing the story. You can then create the proper focus and maintain the necessary tension to glue your reader to the story.

4 Ways to Maintain Story Tension - bibisco's timeline- bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
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Creating tension in a narrative can be simple once you’ve thought of a story. Maintaining that tension, however, is less straightforward. There are four ways you can use it to do just that and make your story a best seller!

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