Writing Suspense: How to Write Stories That Thrill in Any Genre

Benjamin Percy, Author

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15 Lessons (1h 16m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:29
    • 2. Designing Suspense

      7:06
    • 3. Charting a Story

      9:39
    • 4. Developing Characters and Narrative

      3:55
    • 5. Using Inciting Incidents

      3:22
    • 6. Developing Characters and Emotion

      3:48
    • 7. Using Emotional Resonance

      5:29
    • 8. Building Suspense with Temporary Blindness

      9:23
    • 9. Using Reversals

      3:41
    • 10. Creating the Turnstile of Mysteries

      8:30
    • 11. Creating Triangulation

      8:46
    • 12. Using Triangulation

      2:06
    • 13. The End(ing)

      6:25
    • 14. Final Thoughts

      2:02
    • 15. Explore More Classes on Skillshare

      0:33
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About This Class

"What's the secret to suspense? I'll tell you later."

Join award-winning suspense mastermind Benjamin Percy (The Dark Net, The Dead Lands) as he breaks down the essentials of writing genre-bending, reader-gripping works. Every lesson is packed with actionable tips, practical skills, and useful advice that will benefit writers of every medium, whether you're working on a novel, short story, or screenplay, or have an idea just starting to take root.

Key lessons include:

  • Developing a plot that keeps your reader wanting more
  • The Turnstile of Mysteries, or "the dance of the flaming chainsaws"
  • Controlling what your reader knows for a thrilling effect
  • Building three-dimensional characters with clear motivations
  • Entwining the narrative plot and emotional plot of your work 

By the end, you'll have the skills you need to design suspense in your work and an understanding of the story math that will, in Ben's words, grab your reader by the throat. Whether you're new to creative writing or a seasoned writer, this class will transform the way you plan, write, and read suspense, giving you the tools you need to grip your readers and keep them hooked.