How do author's create suspense in mystery and

horror stories?

14 Ways to Create Suspense:
1. Time: Make the pressure loom by using a ticking clock device.
There needs to be a destination in the future that is looming. Worried
thoughts can also work to help emphasize the time. OR Slow down the
closer you get to writing the most intense part.

2. Distance: Create space between your character and his/her goal. A
need to reach a far away destination creates suspense. Don’t worry
obsessively; worries are a good way to end a chapter. You can also
use chapter titles to create distance.

3. Thoughts: Make your characters worry. Show us the tension
through their thoughts.

4. Setting: A dangerous environment will create immediate tension.

5. Separation: Make the main character physically separated from the
problem. Send them away. Then ask yourself what is the villain doing
while the main character is away? What is the enemy doing? Seeing
what the enemy is up to can create tension.

6. Isolation: Create a situation where there is danger around the main
character but the he/she is also isolated. What will they do on their

7. Choices/ Expectation: Give character(s) choices and see what
he/she/they will do. Build tension through what others expect of the
characters. How do those expectations stress the character? Self
expectations can also be used as well.
8. A Test: Pop Quiz! Give your character some sort of test. This is an
immediate tension producer.

9. Disaster: Create a disaster for your characters. This can be both
small or large.

10. Main Character Flaw: Example – in Back to the Future the main
character Marty can’t tolerate being called a coward. Now the reader
will worry about what he will do if he is called a coward.

11. Secondary Character Flaw: This is the same as main character
flaw but in a less-important character.

12. Loss: Something is lost and the main character thinks it is
necessary. The tension comes from the fact that they must get it back.
If regaining what is lost is possible, that is more suspenseful to wait to
read what will become of the character dealing with loss.

13. Foreshadowing: Drop clues to what will happen later. Mix in
some red herrings, or misleading or "fake" clues to increase suspense.

14. Mood- Create a suspenseful atmosphere through setting, including
weather and time of day.