Ah, yes … Suspense

“Scheherazade avoided her fate because she knew how to wield the weapon of suspense – the only literary tool that has any effect on tyrants and savages.  … She only survived because she managed to keep the king wondering what would happen next. …  (A story) runs like a backbone, or may I say a tapeworm, for its beginning and end are arbitrary.  (It) can have only one fault:  that of making the audience not want to know what happens next.”  Aspects of the Novel, E.M. Forster

          EM Forster

                         EM Forster

So, SUSPENSE is safe to survive and will not be drowned in a sea of gorgeous sentences and ungorgeous snippets of banality delivered as tweets.  The ‘tyrants and savages’ of the brave, new electronic world shall not stifle a good old suspense-driven story.What a relief!


1 thought on “Ah, yes … Suspense

  1. I don’t tweet, but perhaps we should create a whole new genre: The Cliffhanger Tweet; a sort of combination of the classic Ellery Queen one-minute mysteries and the old Burma Shave road signs; a denouement followed by a teaser in 144 characters.

    There is a book called The World’s Shortest Stories, edited by Steve Moss, which contains a hundred or so stories of exactly 55 words. Because of the brevity, nearly all of them are suspense stories with twist or surprise endings. I used to have my creative writing students write three of them as an intro to fiction writing. A number of them were certainly as clever as the pieces that Moss had collected.

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