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Conflict, Action and Suspense

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What makes a book a page-turner? How do you grab your readers from the start and hold them through the last sentence? How do you make your plot twist and turn and keep the action moving without losing continuity?You do it by generating drama and developing it using conflict, action and suspense. You make your reader burn to know what's going to happen next. You create tens What makes a book a page-turner? How do you grab your readers from the start and hold them through the last sentence? How do you make your plot twist and turn and keep the action moving without losing continuity?You do it by generating drama and developing it using conflict, action and suspense. You make your reader burn to know what's going to happen next. You create tension…and build it…to the breaking point.William Noble shows you how to intensify that pressure throughout your story. You'll learn exactly what constitutes conflict, action and suspense, how they relate to other important ingredients in your story, and—perhaps most important—how to manipulate them.Through thorough, step-by-step instruction, you'll learn how to… • set the stage with techniques and devices that enhance drama. • introduce suspense from the very beginning of your story. • build suspense through cliff hangers, dialogue, mood, character    development, point of view, subtlety and indirection, and time and    place. • bring all that conflict, action and suspense to a gripping    conclusion. There are all sorts of ways to create tension in your prose—from using adjectives and nouns that drip with imagery to making quick scene cuts and transitions to accelerating the pace. Learn them here. Then use them, and your story will plunge your readers into a river of worry…and the current will carry them to The End. About the Author William Noble is the author of several writing books, short fiction and nonfiction pieces. He has taught and lectured about writing at the Breadloaf Writer's Conference and others.


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What makes a book a page-turner? How do you grab your readers from the start and hold them through the last sentence? How do you make your plot twist and turn and keep the action moving without losing continuity?You do it by generating drama and developing it using conflict, action and suspense. You make your reader burn to know what's going to happen next. You create tens What makes a book a page-turner? How do you grab your readers from the start and hold them through the last sentence? How do you make your plot twist and turn and keep the action moving without losing continuity?You do it by generating drama and developing it using conflict, action and suspense. You make your reader burn to know what's going to happen next. You create tension…and build it…to the breaking point.William Noble shows you how to intensify that pressure throughout your story. You'll learn exactly what constitutes conflict, action and suspense, how they relate to other important ingredients in your story, and—perhaps most important—how to manipulate them.Through thorough, step-by-step instruction, you'll learn how to… • set the stage with techniques and devices that enhance drama. • introduce suspense from the very beginning of your story. • build suspense through cliff hangers, dialogue, mood, character    development, point of view, subtlety and indirection, and time and    place. • bring all that conflict, action and suspense to a gripping    conclusion. There are all sorts of ways to create tension in your prose—from using adjectives and nouns that drip with imagery to making quick scene cuts and transitions to accelerating the pace. Learn them here. Then use them, and your story will plunge your readers into a river of worry…and the current will carry them to The End. About the Author William Noble is the author of several writing books, short fiction and nonfiction pieces. He has taught and lectured about writing at the Breadloaf Writer's Conference and others.

30 review for Conflict, Action and Suspense

  1. 4 out of 5

    Candace

    "Conflict means drama . . . Action means happenings. Suspense means uncertainty." (p. 2) Grammar, point of view, hooks, dialogue, and character development are a few of the methods to develop conflict, action and suspense. The importance of setting, mood, atmosphere and pacing are as crucial as how a story begins and ends. The reader must never feel cheated and must always be respected. "Conflict means drama . . . Action means happenings. Suspense means uncertainty." (p. 2) Grammar, point of view, hooks, dialogue, and character development are a few of the methods to develop conflict, action and suspense. The importance of setting, mood, atmosphere and pacing are as crucial as how a story begins and ends. The reader must never feel cheated and must always be respected.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Anyta Sunday

    There are a few examples earlier in this book that are quite blunt and it gives the narrator a bit of an arrogant feel, but the content and instruction worked for me. I look forward to applying some of these methods in my writing.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Becky Black

    I got as far as chapter 10 of this, but didn't finish. I just lost confidence in the writer, because of a couple of annoying errors I found when he cited examples from books. Like he referred to Gatsby and "Dolly". Well unless that's a different Gatsby than the obvious one, that should be Daisy. Okay, so that could have been a typo, I let it pass. Until I came to where he started talking about Sherlock Holmes' "curious incident of the dog in the night" time and referring to that as being in The I got as far as chapter 10 of this, but didn't finish. I just lost confidence in the writer, because of a couple of annoying errors I found when he cited examples from books. Like he referred to Gatsby and "Dolly". Well unless that's a different Gatsby than the obvious one, that should be Daisy. Okay, so that could have been a typo, I let it pass. Until I came to where he started talking about Sherlock Holmes' "curious incident of the dog in the night" time and referring to that as being in The Hound of the Baskervilles. Well it's not, it's in Silver Blaze - one of the stories in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes collection. At that point I just started to wonder about the various other examples cited and how many of them might be wrong and though I tried to read on, I found I just wasn't buying anything else he was saying, so sorry, dumped. Whether he hadn't actually read the books he was citing or misremembered and didn't double check, either way he just lost me, I couldn't take him seriously any more.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    One of my dad's old books that I thought I'd read before giving away, been a while since I thought about craft anyway. It's a good thing to think about, reconnect with a little, and this is fairly good for that. The thing that's stuck with me is his writing teacher asking everyone if they had a deep dark secret no one knew, and of course most people do. Then they had to build a character around it. He didn't make this point, but I liked thinking about how most ordinary every-day folks have a dar One of my dad's old books that I thought I'd read before giving away, been a while since I thought about craft anyway. It's a good thing to think about, reconnect with a little, and this is fairly good for that. The thing that's stuck with me is his writing teacher asking everyone if they had a deep dark secret no one knew, and of course most people do. Then they had to build a character around it. He didn't make this point, but I liked thinking about how most ordinary every-day folks have a dark secret. Not just stone-cold killers. Then I remembered Wodehouse's small-time fascist and his lingerie shop and a couple of other dark secrets, and thought nice trick. Contents are many of the things you should be thinking about though: 1. Nuts and Bolts of Drama 2. Stage-setting 3. Openings 4. Leave 'em hanging 5. Building Through Dialogue 6. Building through mood and atmosphere 7. Building through character development 8. Building through point of view 9. Subtlety and misdirection 10. Time and place 11. It's in the pacing 12. Endings

  5. 5 out of 5

    Wanda Paryla

    This book is helpful even if you're not working on your first novel. I highly recommend it. It gave me a lot of good "ah-ha" moments which I believe will help me to better my writing. I gave it 4 stars because I feel there could have been a bit more information and examples in the book. This book is helpful even if you're not working on your first novel. I highly recommend it. It gave me a lot of good "ah-ha" moments which I believe will help me to better my writing. I gave it 4 stars because I feel there could have been a bit more information and examples in the book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Howard

    It is part of a great series (Elements of Fiction Writing): however, it fell short of my expectations. I read Characters and Viewpoints, by Orson Scott Card, and loved it. This was a let down. Although I learned new techniques and gained insights, it was redundant and chalk-full or writing examples, used to prove points, that were of sub-par quality themselves. I have not read any of Noble's fiction, but based on this book and the examples he included, I doubt I would be very impressed. Again, s It is part of a great series (Elements of Fiction Writing): however, it fell short of my expectations. I read Characters and Viewpoints, by Orson Scott Card, and loved it. This was a let down. Although I learned new techniques and gained insights, it was redundant and chalk-full or writing examples, used to prove points, that were of sub-par quality themselves. I have not read any of Noble's fiction, but based on this book and the examples he included, I doubt I would be very impressed. Again, some knowledge can be gleaned from this book, but it does not include enough material to warrant a nearly 200 page treatment. Don't let this book steer you away from the series.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kameel Nasr

    I know this is an old book, but the art of stories has not changed over the centuries. Noble's outlined approach I helps writers craft better stories. He goes through details, giving abundant examples from all aspects of writing stories. I'm giving it only three stars because I believe there are now better books for writers, especially "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. Kameel Nasr is author of The Symphony Heist. I know this is an old book, but the art of stories has not changed over the centuries. Noble's outlined approach I helps writers craft better stories. He goes through details, giving abundant examples from all aspects of writing stories. I'm giving it only three stars because I believe there are now better books for writers, especially "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. Kameel Nasr is author of The Symphony Heist.

  8. 5 out of 5

    David Fortier

    Another great book in the Elements of Fiction Writing series by Writer's Digest Books. This is a book, I could review again and again. The information here can help any book stay interesting through the creation of drama. Another great book in the Elements of Fiction Writing series by Writer's Digest Books. This is a book, I could review again and again. The information here can help any book stay interesting through the creation of drama.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Takim Williams

    Great advice here especially on writing dialogue, which to me is one of the hardest aspects of fiction. Ill be coming back to consult these pages many times, and Ill probably check out some of the other books in the Elements of Fiction Writing series

  10. 4 out of 5

    Greg Moon

    I've had several instructors like William Noble: competent at what they are teaching, full of enthusiasm for teaching, and terrible at teaching. There is nothing about writing action sequences. There are mostly general statements about conflict and suspense. I've had several instructors like William Noble: competent at what they are teaching, full of enthusiasm for teaching, and terrible at teaching. There is nothing about writing action sequences. There are mostly general statements about conflict and suspense.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Zvonimir

    Learned lots!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mark Mathes

    A useful quick reference on how to pull readers into your fiction storytelling and how to keep them to the end of the chapter and the end of the book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Яна Хараланова

    Helpful but so boring to me :(

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kaylee Condos

    Highly recommend for people who struggle with Conflict, Action & Suspense. I loved how it have me lots of tips!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Airaology

    It's not a thick book but it's a dense one so it's easy for me to carry around and read. It's not a thick book but it's a dense one so it's easy for me to carry around and read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Griffith

    I read this as preparation for a workshop on conflict, and it wasn't exactly what I was looking for at the moment, but it was well organized, well thought-out, and well expressed. I liked all the angles he covered, up to and including the fact that grammar plays a role in building tension in a story. (Any argument for better grammar goes a long way for me.) Noble makes several very good points I'd never considered, and he explains better than any other book I've ever read how to handle pacing in I read this as preparation for a workshop on conflict, and it wasn't exactly what I was looking for at the moment, but it was well organized, well thought-out, and well expressed. I liked all the angles he covered, up to and including the fact that grammar plays a role in building tension in a story. (Any argument for better grammar goes a long way for me.) Noble makes several very good points I'd never considered, and he explains better than any other book I've ever read how to handle pacing in a story. I like his explanations of using inner conflict sparingly, and how to use time constraints to build tension. This will help me tremendously in the project I'm writing right now, and I am anxious to get started using some of his ideas to improve the pacing in my plot!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Glen Stripling

    As a writer myself, I am always looking for improving my writing skills and I need all the help I can get. Mr. Noble's book has taught me a lot about using action and suspense to grab a reader's attention and to hold it from start to finish throughout a novel. I would suggest this book to any writer who seeks improvement of his writing skills or who is just getting started. Writing a good quality novel is not easy and I believe this guide is one of the best. Glen Stripling As a writer myself, I am always looking for improving my writing skills and I need all the help I can get. Mr. Noble's book has taught me a lot about using action and suspense to grab a reader's attention and to hold it from start to finish throughout a novel. I would suggest this book to any writer who seeks improvement of his writing skills or who is just getting started. Writing a good quality novel is not easy and I believe this guide is one of the best. Glen Stripling

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Worrell

    This book is very accessible and brings up some good points. Good for keeping you on track. However, some of it seems obvious, like not making a novel action-packed from beginning to end. I was hoping for more details on the actual writing, like what makes the actual prose suspenseful? What's exciting to me as the writer may not translate that way to the reader, since I can't control what they're seeing. This book is very accessible and brings up some good points. Good for keeping you on track. However, some of it seems obvious, like not making a novel action-packed from beginning to end. I was hoping for more details on the actual writing, like what makes the actual prose suspenseful? What's exciting to me as the writer may not translate that way to the reader, since I can't control what they're seeing.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bruce

    An interesting book on how to improve your writing. As its title implies it deals with those elements that spice up one's fiction. Examples are given which are drawn mainly from the mystery and suspense genres. What surprised me were a couple of editorial errors which I would not have expected from a book published by Writer's Digest Books. An interesting book on how to improve your writing. As its title implies it deals with those elements that spice up one's fiction. Examples are given which are drawn mainly from the mystery and suspense genres. What surprised me were a couple of editorial errors which I would not have expected from a book published by Writer's Digest Books.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Femmy

    Another great book from the "Elements of Fiction Writing" series. Learned a lot about creating, well, conflict, action, and suspense. A must-read for any aspiring or established authors who wants to add some punch to their stories. Another great book from the "Elements of Fiction Writing" series. Learned a lot about creating, well, conflict, action, and suspense. A must-read for any aspiring or established authors who wants to add some punch to their stories.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jillian

    I'm very gradually reading my way through this series of writing books from the library. This one is not as good as the others I've read so far, but not a complete waste of time either. Some errors and strange bits, but some solid advice as well. I'm very gradually reading my way through this series of writing books from the library. This one is not as good as the others I've read so far, but not a complete waste of time either. Some errors and strange bits, but some solid advice as well.

  22. 5 out of 5

    J.D.

    This book has quite a bit of good advice in it, without a lot of the space filler a lot of "how to" authors include. I was very pleased. I couldn't put it down until I did at least one quick read-through. Now to go back for read number two! This book has quite a bit of good advice in it, without a lot of the space filler a lot of "how to" authors include. I was very pleased. I couldn't put it down until I did at least one quick read-through. Now to go back for read number two!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    While this does occasionally tend towards the formulaic, I still found it helpful. It has given me hope for the rest of the series. It has helpful ways of thinking about structure and building tension.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    This is a great book for all novelists to have and look back for future reference who needs help on conflict, action and suspense for their novels.

  25. 5 out of 5

    February Four

    His exhortations grew a little tiresome after a while. There are things one can learn from this book, which is the only reason I didn't send it back. His exhortations grew a little tiresome after a while. There are things one can learn from this book, which is the only reason I didn't send it back.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kari

    Really helpful to me. It brought up questions I could pose to the piece I'm working on and dug into various ways of developing conflict that were new to me. Really helpful to me. It brought up questions I could pose to the piece I'm working on and dug into various ways of developing conflict that were new to me.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    Probably the most helpful writing book I've ever read. Probably the most helpful writing book I've ever read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jacqui Jacoby

    Pretty good book on learning the craft. Some chapters I didn't need, some I looked at more thoroughly. Would recommend. Pretty good book on learning the craft. Some chapters I didn't need, some I looked at more thoroughly. Would recommend.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly McRae

    I highly recommend this book to all aspiring writers of both fiction and non-fiction. William Noble does a fantastic job of both instructing and inspiring the use of techniques to engage the reader.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Michael Prenez-isbell

    Good follow up to Scene and Structure.

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