Suspense – Creating a sense of fear

How do you create a sense of fear when writing a story? Is it a case of fast pace? Unpredictability? Peril? According to my daughter, suspense is, to her, when you know something is going to happen but you don’t know what. For me, it’s the build up to an event, so pretty similar in definition to what my daughter suggested. That knowledge that something is coming, that the person you’re following in their story, has no idea what’s coming. Wondering if they’re going to get out of it, wondering if they’re going to survive, or not get caught, or similar.

For a giggle and a practice, I’ll be sharing a few of my first attempts at writing something with a little suspense.

For this I will be using some prompts I found on Servicescape.com. Here’s the first one:

Hunters 

(I have deleted and rewritten this several times…)

Feet pounded the ground behind him, they were gaining on him. He pushed himself, running harder and faster than ever before, still those feet thundered along, never falling behind. The leaves and branches whipped him in the face and hands as he fled, arms out before him trying to lessen their blows. The ground below his like a swamp as he desperately ran on, squelching and sliding away from him. It took everything he had to keep from falling into the mulch, all he’d learnt about breathing and running techniques meant nothing to him now.  There was no way of knowing if this was a good direction or if he was running at something far worse. Just then a gust of wind came up behind him, pushing him along as if the gods themselves were willing him to live, to survive this, whatever it was. But on it, it carried a laugh, it made him sick to his stomach. Or perhaps that was whatever they’d knocked him out with, either way he did not have time to be ill. Don’t be sick, don’t be sick, don’t be sick he chanted as he ran, attempting to maintain balance as the ground began to drop off downwards. His body ignored his panicked requests, first his mouth began to water, metallic in taste as it rushed into his mouth, and then his stomach lurched. He was going to vomit, and stopping was not an option. The laughter came again, this time it was joined by others, and they were closer than ever. Still he ran, pain creeping up his legs, his body sabotaging his efforts to escape. The thundering was closing in on him now, these were not feet, not human feet he could hear. Panic surged through him, tears streamed across his face, forced off their usual course by the wind as he ran. A new dose of adrenaline rushed through him with as he realised what the noise was. Hooves. Those were hooves. How the hell was he supposed to outrun horses?! The urge to vomit was forgotten, as was the pain in his legs, he was not going to die here! The ground beneath him became steeper, the leaves slipping out from under his feet as they crashed down in the foliage. First one foot slipped out to the side, his body threatening to throw him off course, then the other, this time he did slip. But he didn’t fall, regaining his balance as he continued on down the hill, he attempted a glance behind him. The horses seemed further away, but despite the chorus ringing out from his limbs, he dare not stop. He didn’t stop until he broke free of the trees, collapsing and skidding to a grinding halt at the side of a busy road. Car horns blaring as they passed him by, screaming their annoyance at his sudden appearance. He climbed to his feet, astonished by what he saw. He knew this road, he’d driven along on his way to a job interview, in what seemed like a life time ago. His hands on his head he tried to remember some more, had he even made the interview? What was it even for?

 

Sorry that’s all I have for this one, I will attempt another soon, but if you have any tips, do let me know 🙂 Show me your attempts at creating suspense.

Keeping Track of My Miles

I’ve changed the way I’m looking at this challenge because to being with, it just felt daunting.

If something is too daunting you’re less likely to stick with it so I’m aiming to do the best I can each week, at least twice a week I will push myself to go over my steps in order to keep myself on schedule

A potential project

Ok I’m really bad for starting a project and not keeping up with it, I’ve been like it since I was a kid with diaries and stories lol. However I keep on trying and today I try again. I am going to do a photography project about the world we’ve built without us. I will publish the watermarked images on my website with a taster for each area here. I hope you’ll watch and give some place suggestions. If I drift off the project and you want to see me just ping me a message.

Forgive, Forget, Flourish

I recently watched a video about forgiveness, it’s a theme that I have seen time and time again. When I look back over my old social media posts I can see how I used to hold onto grudges, be angry at people or hurt by them for months and it never brought me any comfort. No happiness came from it, no joy, only resentment, frustration, anger, bitterness, all negative things. That’s not to say I’m at the point where I don’t get offended, I do, and sometimes comments hurt. I find it immensely frustrating when people don’t think before they speak and I believe most people don’t even consider the effects of the words that leave their mouths.

I’m not a fan of conflict, drama, I don’t watch reality TV so I can see people bitching about each other or starting fights. That to me is dull and almost stressful. I prefer things that are removed from reality, they may involve trauma and death but the also involve love, and support and standing by those who need you or pulling together to over come trials and tribulations.Now I try not to be hurt by others, I try not to let their thoughts or comments on me pull me back to the bitter, angry person I was before. It’s an uphill battle, especially when those who are closest are the ones doing it, I try to weigh up the weight of it, if they said something off the cuff that hurt me, I have to decide if it’s worth bringing up, is it worth telling them or is it small enough to brush off and forget?

Not so long ago a conversation between friends which I was not actively involved in, became a bit of a rant fest that resulted in my career of choice being referred to as a waste of time, pointless, childish, immature etc. I forget the exact words, I just remember the feeling, the more they ranted and complained about the processes involved, the techniques etc the more it hurt me. Because I place a lot of faith in those techniques, they are what got me here, while they sat there saying it didn’t work and it was a waste of time, I was sat there thinking, but it worked for me, I did it, I still do and it’s helped me.

I allowed those words to hurt me, it felt like a deep gash in my chest, I actually sobbed. I was angry, how could they dismiss it so easily, knowing how many years I’ve studied to do that exact thing they were now insulting. Was it even worth it? How would I help people if they thought that way? Perhaps I wasn’t cut out for that career after all. I realise now they were the frustrated angry ones, they didn’t understand the process and so to them it felt like a waste of time. They didn’t give it a chance because they didn’t understand the point, so instead I decided that when I am finally in a position to do the job I want, I will explain the processes to my clients, I will tell them what the point is and why it’s so important to try, no matter how foolish they may feel to begin with.

Forgiving friends it harder than forgiving strangers, because it hurts more when we feel they’ve said and done something against us. Only you can decide if there is enough good to outweigh that negative moment. Whether you move on and severe ties, or you move on and mend bridges, remember don’t assume malicious intent, and be kind, as much to yourself as to others. It’s not always someone else you need to forgive, forgiving myself for all my mistakes is proving to be far harder.

I haven’t cracked it yet, I’m still learning, I’m still growing. I study, read, write, paint, photograph. I do things to help me see the world in a different, better way. And I hope that in time the peace and freedom of not being so easily hurt, of being able to roll my eyes and walk away will be mine. In the word’s of Freddie Mercury, I want to break free.