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Developing suspense!

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this is a powerpoint presentation on how to help your students develop suspense in their writing. enjoy!

this is a powerpoint presentation on how to help your students develop suspense in their writing. enjoy!


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  • 1.  The main event is what the story is really about. It is the central problem, conflict, struggle or adventure that changes the main character in some way. It is the situation that forces the main character to grow or learn something.
  • 2.  • Conflict  • Dialogue  • Description  • Action
  • 3. That night we went back to the house. When we saw Helen stoner’s light, Holmes and I got in quietly through the window. Then we waited silently in the middle bedroom in the dark. We waited for three hours and did not move. Suddenly we saw a light and heard a sound from Dr. Roylott’s room. But nothing happened, and again we waited in the dark. Then there was another sound, a very quiet sound… Immediately Holmes jumped up and hit the bell-rope hard. “Can you see it Watson?” he shouted. But I saw nothing. There was a quiet whistle. We both looked up at the air vent, and suddenly we heard a terrible cry in the next room. Then the house was silent again. “What does it mean?” I asked. My voice was shaking. “It’s finished,” answered Holmes. “Let’s go and see.” We went into Dr. roylott’s room. The metal box was open. Roylott was sitting on a chair, and his eyes were fixed on the air vent. Round his head was a strange, yellow speckled band. It was a snake. He was dead.
  • 4. 1. Types of dialogue: • 1 sentence from each character. • Half or full page dialogue. • Prolonged dialogue. • External or outer dialogue. (Outer dialogue refers to the conversations spoken between characters.) • Internal or inner dialogue. (Inner dialogue refers to the words spoken by a character to him/ herself.)
  • 5. • Should provide information. • Should provide personal information about the characters. (Personality, hobbies...)
  • 6. a. Exclamation (using exclamations and interjections to express the thoughts of the character.) b. Question-Action/Description-Response (the first character asks a question followed by a related action then a response by the other character.) c. Conversation (a longer exchange of action, thought and description between two characters.)
  • 7. “There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.” Alfred Hitchcock. Suspense is the nail biting, edge-of-your-seat kind of magic that compels a reader to turn the page, finish the chapter and devour a book!
  • 8. In order to build suspense, the author must create some uncertainty, anxiety, doubt and apprehension. The author already knows what is going to happen, who is behind the door, what is making the spooky sound, and to whom the mysterious foot steps belong. The trick is not to give it away too soon!
  • 9. “Suddenly she froze. There was something coming up the street on the opposite side. It was something black…something tall and black…Something very tall and very black and very thin.” -The BFG
  • 10. One of the easiest, most effective ways to build a sense of suspense is by raising story questions. This can be done in a number of ways, all of which involve “getting inside” the main character’s head and viewing the story situation from the character’s point of view. This enables the reader to wonder along with the main character.”
  • 11. Word Referents are words that stand for other words. This technique teases the reader by holding back some piece of critical information. The reader reads on to discover the missing piece. Example of how to use Word Referents: “Daniel froze. It loomed over him, at least seven feet of matter brown fur. It snarled and swatted at him with heavy powerful claws. Daniel stared, horrified at its yellowed teeth visible behind its curled-back snout. The beast came closer and closer to him and Daniel backed up, afraid to turn his back for a second.”
  • 12. Hint #1 – Raise a story question by getting inside the main characters mind! Hint #2 – Slow down the action and use five senses. Hint #3 – Discovery! The main character discovers what is happening!
  • 13. a. DEFINEDEFINE the skill by reading examples to the class and the techniques for implementing it. b. MODEL the skill for SS by starting with a boring, give-it-away-too soon example and revising it using each technique. c. Provide GUIDED PRACTICE so students can try it by themselves.