Common writer mistakes #2

#2 — Vagueness for tension

A novel I edited recently kept saying him and his death for about twenty pages before actually explaining who he was. Instead of feeling a sense of curiosity, I was confused. I kept wondering who he was and why he mattered.

I’ve run across this type of vagueness before. Some writers think that leaving information out will build the story’s tension. But it doesn’t work that way.

Readers get confused and usually turn away from a story that has a lot of vagueness. Sometimes they will skim the pages until they find out what’s going on, which takes them out of the experience.

If you write it down, explain it.

Now, you don’t have to explain every little thing, but you do need to explain enough to paint a picture of what’s going on in the readers’ minds, so they’re not confused.

Tension is hard to build in a story; it has to come naturally. If you’re open about what’s going on, the story’s tension will flow since readers will connect to what the characters feel in that moment. They can’t relate to the characters if they don’t understand why the characters feel the way they do.

I hope this helps!

Dare to continue?
#1 — USING MULTIPLE ADJECTIVES
#3 — REPEATING WORDS FOR EMPHASIS
#4 — COMMON MISUSED WORDS
#5 — MISUSING HYPHENS

#6 — UNNECESSARY DETAILS
#7 — NOT DEVELOPING CHARACTERS
#8 — THE WORDS “FELT” AND “FEEL”
#9 — OVERUSING CHARACTER NAMES
#10 — ADDING TOO MANY COMMAS
#11 — DIFFERENT TYPES OF DASHES
#12 — NOT USING PLAIN LANGUAGE
#13 — DIALOGUE TAGS VS ACTION TAGS
#14 — MISUSING COMMAS
#15 — NO SENTENCE VARIATION

8 thoughts on “Common writer mistakes #2

  1. I agree. When I come across this no identification issue in editing, I usually ask the writer “Why is it important that I don’t know who this is?” If they can’t come up with a powerful reason… then don’t do it. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this! I find that tension will creep it. It can be hard for me to find the balance between foreshadowing with the necessary information to create the tension, since I often think I have said enough and forget what I know as the writer, or saying too much and killing the tension.
    Practice is what it all takes!

    Liked by 1 person

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