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Prompt of the Week: Inanimate Objects Anonymous

Write a story where the narrator is an inanimate object.


Write your response in the comments bellow. Best entry gets a shout out next week!

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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How to Build Up Suspense In Any Genre

Whether you are writing a mystery or a horror, or even a romance, suspense can be a total game changer in any kind of story. Here are some tips that will have your readers hanging on the edge of their seats in anticipation.

What is Suspense?

Dictionary definition:
A state or feeling of excited or anxious uncertainty about what may happen. A quality in a work of fiction that arouses excited expectation or uncertainty about what may happen.

Simply Put: The fear of the unknown. Keeping the reader guessing. Who is the true murderer? What’s in the haunted mansion down the lane? Building suspense means offering the reader a question that they feel they must learn the answer to. The trick is to prolong giving them that answer while maintaining their interest.

Now, let’s talk about techniques you can use to help build up suspense in your story.

Solid Villains and High Stakes

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A stirring tension and conflict can be crucial in any genre. Great antagonists who challenge the protagonist create that exciting conflict. Explore the villains motivations. Why has he set this evil plan in motion? What is his connection to the hero? Throw away the idea of a villain who only wants to rain on a parade for no good reason. Really flesh out the character and make them a worth opponent for the hero.

The stakes must be high. Whatever is at risk, whether it’s a loved one’s life or the world’s safety, needs to be important to the protagonist. So important that they will jump through any hoop the antagonist throws at them. And if they fail, they would be devastated.

Point of View

Focus on the character’s perspective. See the world through their eyes. Let the reader learn information as the character does. Narrowing the point of view is an excellent way to build tension. Unlike an all knowing, omniscient narrator, the character won’t know what’s around the corner and what will happen next. Consider who tells the story, and how the story gets told.

Think about it like this. Imagine shining a flashlight into a dark room. You only see the beam of light, and not the rest of the room. The freaking Frankenstein monster could be standing in the corner, and you wouldn’t even know. Gives me the chills just thinking about it.

Image result for flashlight shining in dark cartoon

Pacing and Ticking Clocks

Experiment with style a bit. Short, fragmented sentences give a feel of breathlessness. Brief pauses will add weight to a scene. Keep in mind about the pacing of the overall story. The longer answers stay hidden, the longer some readers will continue reading. But don’t hold out for too long, readers may loose interest. It’s all about leaving a trails of information breadcrumbs for them to follow.

The use of time is another way to build suspense. Everyone can relate to the feeling of time running out. Your MC should be working against the clock. That’s why scenarios like “You have 24 hours to find the girl” work so well. Will the hero make it in time? What will happen if time runs out?

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After a Dark and Stormy Night

Hope you guys use these techniques when adding some suspense to your next story. What’s your favorite moment of suspense in a book or film? When I think of suspense, I always think of the movie, Speed. Keanu Reeves and a bomb strapped to a bus? Classic suspense thriller.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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The Murder of Golden Boy – (Mystery Flash Fiction)

“Are you…the detective I phoned for?” This was a question asked in a skeptical tone, by a butler sporting an obvious wig. What a swell way to start a case.

I dusted the snow off the Mr. Cooper’s cap. “Yep, that’s him, all right.” I jabbed my thumb toward the boss’ direction.

Gripping the handle of his walking stick firmly, “Pardon the delay. My associate, Oscar, and I were delayed by some unsightly weather.” A snowstorm blustered at our backs. Coney Island was covered in 5 inches of snow. Frostbite was nipping at my fingertips. We were hastily ushered inside. “The victim is upstairs, in his office, correct?” With a nervous nod from the butler, Mr. Cooper hobbled up the stairs at an achingly slow pace.

While the butler’s face was stamped with a uncertain look, I gave him a pat on the shoulder. “Don’t let the grey hair and gimp leg fool you. Trust me, he’s the real McCoy.” Lighting a cigarette along the way, I followed the detective upstairs.

Before entering the office, we had crossed paths with a frail looking maid, with a gold chain looped around her next. In her arms was a bundle of linen. Paying no mind to us, she hurried past us. What was the rush? Her employer was found dead that. I’d say that counts as a day off of work.

The victim was John Smitty. A retired baseball player, sat at his desk, with a bullet hole in his head. The gun still hung to his trigger finger. His pristine white office was stained with the muddy boot prints of police officers. And let’s not forget the hideous splatter of red and grey matter on the wall.

Sorry. The gory details may disgust you. Just imagine spaghetti and meat sauce thrown against the wall. Not a pretty picture. Still, the detective teetered into the room, undeterred by the horrible sight.

According to the butler, his employer enjoyed his breakfast and the newspaper in his office every morning. His body was found earlier that day, with a newspaper, and a note.

“Did himself in pretty good, huh boss?” I glanced around the room, taking a long drag.

He read the paper, the suicide note, placed in front of the victim. “You think a scribbled message about how cruel the world is and what appears to be a self-inflicted gun shot wound to the temple is enough to prove a man killed himself?”

“Usually.”

“Has our time together taught you nothing?” This was February, 1925. By this time, I have been working for Mr. Cooper for almost two years. Surely, I had learned something from tailing the old man. “Things are never that simple. And If memory serves, the victim was a baseball player, nicknamed ‘Golden Boy’ in his youth, most noted for pitching with his left hand,” Carefully, he lifted the corpse’s limp hand. The pistol clattered to the floor. “Highly unlikely he would pull the trigger with his right hand.”

The brilliant detective Cooper was right….Again. I sighed. Snowflakes tapped furiously against the window pane. Glancing around, I noticed a cabinet door that was cracked open. Inside was an empty safe. We were informed that the victim had an extensive, and expensive, collection of gold, locked away in a safe.

“Robbery gone wrong?” I offered.

“Not exactly, my boy.” His hand gestured for me to come closer. The butler hung in the doorway. “I have a theory,” his tone was hushed. “Someone close to Mr. Smitty, perhaps a member of his staff, manufactured a fake suicide scene in order to steal his gold collection.”

My face pinched in confusion. “You think the butler did it?” How cliché would that be?

Mr. Cooper shook his head. “Did you notice the gold chain around the maid’s neck?”

Told you he was brilliant.


Be nice, this story was just for fun. Make sure you support my Patreon.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky