How Can a Story Told in Chronological Order Build Suspense?

Last Updated on January 16, 2023 by Dr Sharon Baisil MD

Suspense is critical for holding a reader’s attention and interest, no matter what tale you tell. Theftlyinghafting information and raising important issues that catch readers’ attention is what keeps a narrative flowing. Character growth is crucial for creating hooks; for example, if the book’s conclusion does not realize a character’s ambitions, the tale will not seem satisfying to the reader. Suspense is created by withholding the conclusion, giving the reader enough time to worry and wait. Going right down the list, events one through four is one technique you may use to build anticipation.

When it comes to storytelling, suspense is a key ingredient. You can keep your audience hooked and engaged by building tension and suspense in your story. However, suspense is much harder to achieve in real life, unlike in novels or movies. That’s why understanding how to build suspense in a narrative is critical. This article will discuss chronological order strategies for building suspense in your story.

Ultimate Strategies/Tips to Create Chronological Series of Events to Build Suspense in a Story

1 – First, understand the difference between surprise and suspense!

The distinction between suspense and surprise is a tiny yet significant one. You’re manipulating your readers’ expectations of time by withholding information. They know something will happen, yet they don’t know when. When you reveal something to your reader they had no idea was going to happen, that’s a surprise. It’s possible to have both a good time and be successful.

2 – Learn that reader is an active participant

When readers are engaged as active participants in a narrative, they derive the most pleasure from reading it. To make this happen, a variety of elements are involved.

One of the most critical aspects of information flow is that a writer must provide the reader with all the information as soon as possible.

Readers should be able to follow the rising action, assess significance, and predict probable outcomes in a genuine way thanks to the correct information at the appropriate time. Whether you’re telling a joke, retelling a fable, or writing a complicated book, this is crucial.

3 – Write a scene before a sequence

It is, however, worth pausing to define what a scene is before we go into the sequence of events in a story. To effectively write a scene for story structures, writers must master the skill. They improve their ability to sequence events in sequences, which may be used to build acts or other story elements. When each scene holds a reader’s attention with equal interest, a logical sequence will engage the reader, and this effort works even better.

4 – Cliffhangers Affect Suspense

With the serialization of Charles Dickens’ tales, cliffhangers became a contemporary phenomenon, and they have remained popular up to the present day. The Zeigarnik Effect is used in a cliffhanger. According to this psychological theory, if a task is disrupted, people may remember it better.

Humans seem to want closure, and its absence piques their curiosity. Notwithstanding whether it’s on TV or in books, one trend continues: most writers don’t resume the narrative they’ve just broken after a cliffhanger. Instead, they shift into a more thoughtful discussion or a sluggish explanation after gaining their audience’s attention.

They frequently change the subject, rapidly constructing new expectations. You have to keep your promises to the reader, or they will lose your trust and confidence in you. It’s crucial to remember that while you’ve captured their interest, you still need to fulfill it.

Top 7 Ways to Create Suspense in Chronological Order

1 – Form a hidden identity

Creating a character with a hidden identity, such as a puppet master or mastermind who controls things from behind the scenes but whose identity is unknown, is one of Dan Brown’s favorite tools for creating suspense.

2 – Have a promise in each chapter

What’s hidden in the box? The reader can be asked almost anything, which is a legitimate question. How will this person survive the burning aircraft? Who planted the bomb beneath the bus? Each of your questions includes a pledge to respond.

3 – Form a puzzle

A quest may revolve around answering a puzzle and following a chain of clues from the first chapter to the narrative’s conclusion. This might be a straightforward solving of a murder mystery or a trail of symbolic information your characters need to figure out escape routes.

4 – Create complex histories of characters

Keep the reader guessing about the dark secrets in someone’s past (and how it might influence their current behavior) by withholding information.

5 – Compress the timeline of the story

This results in more significant stress on the characters. If your tale spans two weeks, try staging it in a week to keep things moving. While it may seem like a contrived imposition to compress time, the impact on your characters can be profound, and the ensuing drama can frequently boost a struggling narrative.

6 – Use parallel plot lines

You create more places for suspense and raise questions in the reader’s mind about how the various stories might be connected by having subplots for villains and secondary characters.

7 – Raise tensions with inner monologues

The reader will be concerned about anything your protagonist is concerned about. Their ideas and sentiments may generate dread and create a sense of anticipation.

Final Words

According to what we’ve learned, storytelling is not just about telling a story. Instead, you need to be creative enough so that this doesn’t become boring and uneventful for your audience. There are various strategies that can be used while telling a story in chronological order, including writing them down beforehand. This will make it easier for you to start writing the story and create the required suspense.

In case these didn’t work out well, don’t worry! You can also try using some of the tips listed above, such as opening with surprising details or keeping them guessing until later on in your post!


How much development does a subplot need?

When writing a screenplay, it is essential to develop subplots that are relevant and engaging. Achieving this goal typically requires adding enough detail so that readers can visualize the action onscreen. This involves considering both plotlines and scene descriptions.
Plotlines should be well-defined and provide enough background information so that readers understand how the characters are related to each other and why they’re involved in the story. They also need to advance the overall narrative while helping to build tension throughout the script. Scene descriptions should be detailed enough so readers can picture what’s happening in every frame of the film, thanks to accurate staging, lighting, props, and character motivation.
Additionally, it’s often helpful to break down scenes into more minor details (i.e., camera angle selection or dialogue choice) for writers to understand why confident choices were made during filming sessions.. By consistently doing all of these things from start to processing until final submission, you’ll create a more powerful screenplay that will captivate your reader from the beginning until the conclusion!

What are some examples of good ways to build suspense in a story?

One way to build suspense in a story is by withholding information. This can be done through flashbacks or flash-forwards, as well as vague references to events that have yet to occur. It’s also important to carefully develop your characters and their relationships, so the reader feels invested in their fate. And finally, it’s vital to keep the story’s pace moving at a brisk clip so that readers don’t get bored (or impatient!).
These components work to provide a fully immersive reading experience that transports them fully into the written word. By following these simple tips, you’ll be able to write engaging content and ensure it builds suspenseful momentum from start to finish!

How can you make your characters act or react differently than they usually would?

You can change how your characters act or react using different dialogue options. You can also use nouns and adjectives to describe actions, reactions, or emotions. This will help you to create more varied and exciting conversations between your characters. Additionally, you can add variations in tone of voice when speaking to your characters to give them a sense of realism.
And if that’s not enough inspiration for you, take a look at some popular video games that are known for their scripts and dialogue writing – like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt or Dragon Age Inquisition – for examples of great scripting techniques that you might want to imitate in your game stories.


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