How to Create Dramatic Tension

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Make a Scene by Jordan Rosenfeld

Tension is what keeps a scene from falling flat, and it's necessary in every scene. To create it, you must:

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• Thwart your protagonist's goals—delay satisfaction.
• Include unexpected changes without immediate explanation.
• Shift power back and forth.
• Pull the rug out—throw in a piece of plot information that changes or alters your protagonist in some way.
• Create a tense atmosphere through setting and senses.