1. Stammis
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    Stammis Contributing Member

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    Keep the suspense

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Stammis, Oct 8, 2015.

    So I have parts of my book where I try to keep the suspense, for instance, the main character meets a man that is about to die. The man says that he recently found a successor. The main character has a suspicion on who it might be, but I want the reader to contemplate about it as well and not tell outright what the main character is thinking.

    Example from the book;

    Fendraels voice gets deeper and he is starting to become irritated. “I don't know what you think will happen, but nothing outweighs the fate of the world. My mother set me out on this quest. You and the stone made me determined to continue it… Perhaps it is time for your people to emerge and take its rightful place in the world. To become part of its solution!”

    “I am sorry Fendrael. At one point in my life I would have agreed with you. But as fate will have it, I have found a successor. He will continue my legacy and keep my people safe.”

    Fendrael suddenly receives an ominous premonition and walks briskly out the room without looking back. He stops at the exit and says. “The world has changed much the past thousand years. You should know that if you are as wise as you say you are.”


    Any suggestions?

    As my native language is not English I also notice that I have some problems expressing emotion on the character. For instance "Fendraels voice gets deeper and he is starting to become irritated.” How would you explain when a person tries to convince another person but gets nowhere, and his voice change accordingly?
     
  2. ShalaylaW
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    ShalaylaW Member

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    Well, this how I would write that:

    "Fendrael felt the sting of irritation start to rise in his chest, and though he tried to sound persuasive and suppress it, a sliver escaped making his silky words sound forced" and then he says whatever he's going to say. When a character is trying to convince another fruitlessly, I always find it's best to make their voice seem forced, that they're trying too hard.

    As for your suspense issue, I really don't think there's a problem. The dialogue isn't bad, and I like the last paragraph.
     
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  3. Stammis
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    Stammis Contributing Member

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    Fantastic! I never thought of using the words like that. I think I will have to read more english written novels to get some inspiration. Thank you very much.
     
  4. ShalaylaW
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    ShalaylaW Member

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    Yes, you may need to do a bit of reading to get a better grasp on the language used. But yeah, no worries, good luck :)
     
  5. wordylaconic
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    wordylaconic New Member

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    Hadn't you told us that the main focus was on who the successor would be, I'm not sure I would have picked up on it. That he suddenly receives an ominous premonition, could also refer to something changing in the immediate surrounding, in my mind.

    I would try something like:

    Knowing who that successor might be, he stops at the exit and says. “The world has changed much the past thousand years. You should know that if you are as wise as you say you are.”

    Asking the question isn't the same as delivering the answer, and I think it would make the intention clearer. Then again, other readers might find themselves too coached by it.

    I liked you dialogue though, and you managed to capture a sort of eeriness that I very much liked!
     
  6. Stammis
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    Stammis Contributing Member

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    Yeah it might be a little straight forward. i think it make sense if you read from the beginning of the chapter. Thank you for the compliment! It is reassuring to know that I am not completely awful ;) #selfcriticism #twitterjoke
     
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  7. Tella
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    Tella Member

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    What about a combo of telltale details and dialogue?

    Fendrael leaves the room, all the while deep in thought. An outline gathers in his mind, clearer the more he contemplates on the words of the dying man, until it shapes up into a familiar image, a familiar face. "No..." he hisses fearfully. "The world has changed much the past thousand years. You should know that if you are as wise as you say you are."
     
  8. Masterspeler
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    Masterspeler Active Member

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    Read, but better yes, watch TV. Trust me, TV is by and far the best way to pick up a language, with idioms and idiosyncrasies of the culture as well. This is coming from somebody that speaks six languages, two of which I picked up through TV alone.

    AB

    PS I only speak 3 of them now, because I don't have cable anymore, so no more TV, no more international channels, but give me two weeks in the respective countries and I'll do ok.
     

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