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Sarah Hilary | Five Tips for Suspense
Author Guest / June 30, 2014

Alfred Hitchcock drew a useful distinction between shock and suspense. Shock, he said, would be a bomb going off without warning at the family breakfast table. But if you show your audience the bomb in advance, and if you intercut that with images of the oblivious family breakfasting, if you juxtapose the normality with the horror in store – then you have suspense. I try to keep this rule in mind when I’m writing. Here are five tips for how I created suspense in SOMEONE ELSE’S SKIN.   #1 Be visceral This is about engaging the reader senses – taste, touch, sound, smell – but it’s also about pulling the reader headlong into the story, getting under their skin, making their pulse race. In SOMEONE ELSE’S SKIN, I put Marnie Rome’s sidekick into a deadly situation towards the end of the book. Noah Jake is in danger, in pain, afraid for his life. I kept the chapters short. I ditched conventional sentence structure. Got right inside his head. We’re as scared as he is that he might die, and not a nice death. #2 Keep it real Having horrors in store for your characters is all well and good, but…