It has been pointed out that tension is what makes a reader want to continue reading. There needs to be a compelling problem which demands a solution. But what can be done to create this atmosphere? Obviously, the main driving problem of a story (like the destruction of the One Ring) can create some tension, but there are usually smaller events which cause tension. What are some ways to create tension that make the reader want to continue? ~~~ I was thinking character tension. By alluding to a character's past, you may be able to create more curiosity. Revealing a smaller problem about a character to keep the story going. I remember how dark and scary the scenes of Minas Tirith and the insanity of Denethor was in LotR, and that was exhiliarating. However, the portions following Frodo and Sam were so dark and glum that I often stopped reading. But still; wanting to see the resolution kept me going. Even though I hated those parts of the books, it kept me involved and kept me going. The first 100 pages of New Moon (ack, pop-culture!) were nothing but whining and angst, but I read through it all.