What is the difference between suspense and tension in a story?

I know it’s hard to decide.

Suspense, and tension work hand in glove throughout a good story. The chills, thrills, big and small are what keep us turning the pages.

Here is a reblog of a post from Ryan Lanz and his guest blogger John Briggs about how to add ratchet up tension in your story: 

Favorite Writing Advice: Adding Tension to Your Story

Until recently I always thought I preferred a more direct fast paced action. What changed my mind? A book that was written with page after page of subtle clues that built suspense and tension with emotions.

This book was also written in two of my least favorite formats. Head-hopping and non-linear. You know what I mean. Where each chapter is from a different person’s point of view and the story jumps back and for over a span of time.  Yet, I couldn’t stop reading.

Why? Because I had to find out what happened.

The story is about a neighborhood and the domino effect that happens when one misunderstanding after another leads to problems. Throw in a stalker, control freak, drugs, booze, kids and you have a recipe for one big mess.

Fractured by Catherine McKenzie is a five-star read!

Fractured by [McKenzie, Catherine]

But which do you prefer?

The blood and guts action or subtle building of suspense?

Talk to me – I love reading your comments.

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More great articles for your reading pleasure below!

Suspense versus Tension

What’s the Difference Between Conflict and Tension?

10 thoughts on “What is the difference between suspense and tension in a story?

  1. It really just depends on my mood and where I am at any given point in my life. Suspense definitely leaves my belly feeling tight and overwhelmed at times, whereas tension is a more manageable type of anxiousness.

    Liked by 1 person

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