Article: Suspense



The Art and Craft


What are the mechanics of suspense?

Let’s start with a decent, formal definition:

Pleasurable excitement and anticipation regarding an outcome, such as the ending of a (mystery) novel.”

Source: iThesaurus (brackets are mine)

Not bad.

The definition that I work within is from a good and interesting conversation with Vern, my brilliant and wise publisher at BHC Press, who said:

When you know who the protagonist and antagonist are (paraphrase).

For the Danser novels, I’ve been working with my interpretation of Vern’s great definition of suspense:

When you know the devil and who its perusing.”

Unlike the mystery genre, where the villain or devil are often not known until the cliff hanging, who-dun-it reveal, my spin on the suspense genre is to structure the books to share both faces and minds of good and bad. In effect, make their light and dark paths viable for my readers. It is also a helluva lot more enjoyable for this writer. And this reader.

So, what is the attraction to books of suspense?

The dance.

Good and evil out on the floor, under the soft lights, the music varying.
Who will lead? Who will follow? Or will they embrace?
The Danser novels are about individuals and their choices, as well as their instincts, passions, goals and compulsions. 
But always there is the dance, the suspense: Good or Evil?


Murder in a Very Small Town


The write of this novel was marked by the dance.

Wiki Danser is used to living a wild, free life up until she finds herself stranded in snowbound Dent, Michigan. Initially taking shelter from the storm in the local Quickee Mart, she is quickly swept up in the chaos and madness of a madman with a long rifle.

That same night, ex sheriff Wesley Lorenzo has snapped and is on rampage, working a list of names of those who have done him wrong, but not above taking down anyone who crosses his path.

And so the dance tune begins.

Who will be left standing when the snow melts and the blood dries?

Here’s wishing you all the best of reads,



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