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What Makes a Good Suspense? Guest Post by Kaylin McFarren

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Hush Hush Sweet CharlotteWhat makes a great suspense story?

By Kaylin McFarren, author of BURIED THREADS

Although I’m a relatively new author when it comes to writing romantic suspense, one suggestion that immediately comes to mind for fellow authors is to begin your story by stating what’s at stake while providing a glimpse at the challenges your hero or heroine are forced to overcome. I love a good mystery Buried-Threads-2and have discovered that mystery authors tend to be more closed mouth and secretive about ultimate sacrifices and goals in their stories. Suspense authors, on the other hand, risk giving too much away by divulging all the elements of their stories way too early, which makes writing in this particular genre a bit of a balancing act.

Secondly, suspense needs to grow through the actions of a strong protagonist while detouring away from the story’s predictable outcome. This is not an easy task to pull off but allows the author the ability to explore multiple points of view while giving insight into the vulnerabilities or flaws of their characters. The suspense author might even draw sympathy from their readers for the villain who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks or the bitter woman who’s been abandoned all her life and is hesitant to trust an ex-lover.

The ability to see inside the minds of characters in this style of writing makes it possible to add thought processes and complex layers while providing the motivation behind pitting the antagonist against the protagonist. Mystery writers are at a distinct disadvantage in this regard as they’re required to keep the antagonist’s identity hidden to the very last minute to extend the drama and excitement of their stories. But whether mystery or suspense, the trick to mastering a great story is to ensure that the reader ultimately has a thrilling experience.

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Kaylin-McFarren-2About the Author:

Kaylin McFarren is a California native who has enjoyed traveling around the world. She previously worked as director for a fine art gallery, where she helped foster the careers of various artists before feeling the urge to satisfy her won creative impulses.

Since launching her writing career, McFarren has earned more than a dozen literary awards in addition to a finalist spot in the 2008 RWA Golden Heart Contest. A member of RWA, Rose City Romance Writers, and Willamette Writers, she also lends her participation and support to various charitable and educational organizations in the Pacific Northwest.

McFarren currently lives with her husband in Oregon. They have three children and two grandchildren.

Her latest book is Buried Threads (Book 2 of the Threads series).

Visit her website at www.kaylinmcfarren.com.

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