Have you ever read a book or watched a movie that had you on the edge of your seat, eagerly anticipating what would happen next? That feeling of suspense and tension is what makes stories so compelling. As a writer, you want to keep your readers engaged and invested in your story from beginning to end. But how do you achieve that?

In this article, we will explore the different techniques and strategies you can use to create tension and suspense in your story. From building complex characters to creating unexpected plot twists, we'll cover everything you need to know to keep your readers on the edge of their seats.

  1. Developing Compelling Characters

  2. Setting the Scene

  3. Foreshadowing and Suspense

  4. Pacing and Timing

  5. Creating Plot Twists

  6. Frequently Asked Questions

  7. Conclusion

Developing Compelling Characters 

a. Introducing Conflicts and Flaws

b. Giving Characters Goals and Motivations

c. Creating Relationships and Interactions

Setting the Scene

 a. Sense of Place and Atmosphere

b. Using Sensory Details to Set the Mood

c. Establishing the Rules of the World

Foreshadowing and Suspense

a. Hinting at Future Events

b. Raising Questions and Uncertainties

c. Creating a Sense of Dread or Fear

Pacing and Timing

a. Varying the Tempo and Rhythm of the Story

b. Using Cliffhangers and Chapter Endings

c. Balancing Action and Dialogue

Creating Plot Twists

a. Introducing Unexpected Events and Revelations

b. Reversing Expectations and Subverting Tropes 

c. Introducing Moral Dilemmas and Conflicts

Bullet Points:

  • Use cliffhangers and chapter endings to keep readers engaged
  • Create complex characters with flaws and conflicts
  • Establish a sense of place and atmosphere to set the mood
  • Foreshadow future events to create suspense
  • Use unexpected plot twists to keep readers guessing
  • Pace the story to build tension and excitement


Q. Can I use tension and suspense in any genre? A. Yes! Whether you're writing a romance, a mystery, or a fantasy, tension and suspense can be effective tools to keep readers engaged.

Q. How much tension and suspense should I use? A. It depends on the story you're trying to tell. Some stories require a high level of tension and suspense, while others can rely more on character development and world-building.

Q. Is it possible to have too much tension and suspense? A. Yes, it's possible to overwhelm your readers with too much tension and suspense. It's important to balance these elements with other aspects of storytelling, such as humor, romance, and drama.


Building tension and suspense is a crucial part of storytelling. By using the techniques and strategies we've discussed in this article, you can keep your readers engaged and invested in your story from beginning to end. Whether you're a seasoned writer or just starting out, these tips will help you create compelling and unforgettable stories that keep your readers on the edge of their seats. So, how do you build tension and suspense in a story? With practice, patience, and a little bit of creativity, anything is possible.