Skip navigation
Currently Being Moderated

The Cost and Odds of Suspense

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger on Jul 6, 2015 5:19:26 AM

The thrills, the chills, the pressure cannot exist in a suspense novel without a cost. That cost is what drives the protagonist to take risks they normally wouldn't take. That cost is ever-present. The cost is the thump-thump-thump of pulse-pounding action. The cost must be reckoned with in a novel with suspense at its core. Without a cost for failure, there's no payoff if the protagonist succeeds. The cost has to be high, and the odds for success have to be low.


Here are the three types of costs that I've observed as a fan and writer of novels that use suspense as an element of story:

  1. A loved one – There may be no higher stake than the life of a protagonist's loved one. Failure means a romantic interest or familial relation will die. The pressure is palpable. The protagonist cares nothing about his own safety. He will gladly give his life to save his loved one.

  2. It's personal – The bad guy wants blood, but this time it's personal. The protagonist's own life is at stake. If she fails, it's lights out. The clock is ticking. Will she succeed or die?

  3. Going global – The nuclear bomb is counting down. Disarm it, and thousands of lives are saved and a global disaster is averted. If the protagonist lets the timer hit zero, all is lost.


So, next time you set out to write a suspense novel, ask yourself two questions before you begin. What is the cost of failure, and what are the odds of success?


-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


You may also be interested in…


The Time-Sensitive Plot Device

Mystery, Thriller, or Suspense?

2,900 Views Tags: authors, author, publishing, writing, fiction, suspense, author_tips, author_advice, writing_help, fiction_writing

Jul 6, 2015 5:53 AM templewms    says:

Excellent, but why limit these observations to suspense? They work well in many genres.

Jan 11, 2018 3:15 AM jiya123    says:

There are many authors who write books related to adventure, thrill, and excitement. If the author keeps suspense until the end of the story or novel, it will be very interesting for the reader to read. Keep these things in mind before writing a novel or story. top builders in Kochi