Create Tension in your Writing

Having trouble creating tension between your characters? I am. Thankfully,  Linda Crotta-Brennan, a friend of mine who also happens to be an awarding winning author, suggested I read Frog and Toad are Friends, by Arnold Lobel, as an example.

Frog and Toad are best friends, yet they are opposites in many ways.  These  differences create the perfect tension for a book. Lobel shows us how Frog is much happier than Toad. On the first day of spring, Frog is excited and runs to his friend’s house.

Frog yells, Wake up, It’s Spring.”

“Blah” said a voice from inside the house.

Isn’t that great? In only fourteen words Lobel had shown us the personalities of his characters.

Frog goes on to say how they will skip through meadows, run through the woods, and swim in the river. Can’t you just picture Frog’s happiness? Haven’t you felt the same on the first warm day of spring?

But Toad says,” I will be too tired. I’m going back to bed.”

I can feel the tension already. One character is pulling one way while the other is pulling the opposite way.
Now I need to start working on my characters and figure out ways for them to pull in opposite directions, yet keep their love for each other.

How do you create tension in your writing?

Check out the Frog and Toad series for more examples.


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Filed under Books I Read, Writing Tips

2 responses to “Create Tension in your Writing

  1. My son has a book, Moose and Mouse (by Colin West), that offers a great view of tension between characters also. Mouse is studious and Moose is strong, tension between the two characters is felt as easily as describing Mouse’s annoyance at Moose’s love of the outdoors.

    Nice post!

  2. Thanks for the suggestion. I’m looking forward to checking it out.

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