Creating #Suspense in #Thrillers: ‘Just Like The Other Girls’ and ‘Ghost Wife’ #TuesdayBookBlog

Someone came into my room last night while I was sleeping. He opened a drawer, took something out, and left the room. Neither my husband nor I woke up. Anything could have happened while we were unconscious. It could have been a thief, a murderer, or a kidnapper. We could be missing, dead, or have suffered a burglary.

Fortunately, everything’s fine, except it isn’t, because now, for the first time in my life, I’m aware of my vulnerability. It might have happened before, but if it ever has, I was oblivious. The knowledge that this can happen to me any night, wherever I happen to be sleeping, is frankly terrifying.

Creating Suspense

Thrillers thrive on suspense, especially those of the domestic and psychological types. Suspense is the building up of an uneasy feeling in the reader, usually because the main character is in danger and we don’t know what’s going to happen next. A writer can create suspense by making the reader feel the character’s fear. Both the reader and the character want to find out what happens next, but both are also terrified of what they may discover.

At the moment I’m halfway through Just Like The Other Girls by Claire Douglas. And there’s a scene where a character believes someone might have entered their bedroom in the middle of the night.

UK Buy link on cover / Amazon.com buy link here

This paragraph is taken from Part One, Chapter 14.

A noise wakes me. I blink in the darkness, feeling disoriented for a few seconds. I hear it again. The creak of floorboards. I rub my eyes, propping myself on my elbows and notice that my door is ajar, letting in a sliver of silvery light from the landing. I remember locking it before I went to sleep. I know I did. Is someone in my room? I’m wide awake now and sit up straighter. I start when I see a figure by my wardrobe…

****

The use of present tense makes the events occur in real time for both the reader and narrator. Neither knows what is going to happen, and both are terrified of the events which will take place in the next few minutes. I’m thoroughly enjoying this novel, which has plenty of similar nail-biting moments. A full review will be coming soon.

UK Buy link on cover / Amazon.com buy link here

In chapter 10 of my latest novel, Ghost Wife, there is also a scene where the protagonist believes someone has entered her room while she was sleeping.

I rub my eyes, lick my lips, and stumble to the dressing table for my glass of water, but before it reaches my lips, I freeze. There’s a leather-bound book—a Bible that wasn’t there last night. A flower is pressed between its pages like a bookmark. I pull it open, and my heart races as I read the words scrawled along the top and side margin of the page.

I am the ghost of Rosewood Hall. Welcome. Be careful of the others.

I refuse to believe in ghosts, because if I let them in, they’ll destroy me again. I replace the Bible and wring my trembling hands. Someone must have come into my room while I was asleep. I stride towards the door, because they may still be here, but the handle turns. They’re back and I’m trapped.

****

There are plenty of surprises and thrilling moments in Ghost Wife. Especially for readers who enjoy romantic suspense novels. International buy link for Ghost Wife.

By the way, if you were wondering who came into my room in the middle of the night, it was my son-in-law who needed to get a change of clothes for my sixth and most recent grandson, Carlos. You’ve guessed it, I’m on granny duty again this summer! I’m trying to keep up with blogging and writing, with limited success, so far! I’m a stressed writer and blogger, but also a very happy granny!

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