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May 01, 2011

Comments

Jersey Jack

In her book, How to Write Killer Fiction. Carolyn Wheat details the difference between mystery and suspense. In her view, a true suspense novel must have more than one POV -- so that the reader can know things other characters don't. Thus, you get Carolyn's ultimate description of suspense -- the reader saying to herself, No, no, no, don't go in that house -- don't open that door, don't make that call.

Pepper Smith

Interesting, but I'm not sure I agree with her description of a true suspense novel. It's possible to built quite intense suspense without having more than a first-person narrative.

Jersey Jack

I'm misquoting her about "true suspense", I'm sure. I've read great suspense in the first person, too, Pepper. But I think you can see her point: If you have the reader identifying with the character who's walking up those stairs, but also knowing that the killer is waiting for her up there -- that's a very special kind of suspense.

Pepper Smith

I suppose so. I just prefer not to know what's coming, just that something is coming. Knowing what's coming just feels too manipulative to me. JMHO.

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