You may have wondered, “How is suspense different than mystery?” Simon Wood says that suspense is the story of tension and suspense prior to and after a crisis event. While drama is created by a mystery, suspense builds tension prior to and after the crisis event. These tensions must be created by suspense authors. They must also build anticipation for what’s next.
A thriller starts with a shocking secret or event and focuses on the main character’s survival. A suspense novel begins with an enigma that is revealed as the main character becomes aware of his or her peril. Unlike a mystery novel, where the protagonist slowly realizes that danger is close, a suspense novel begins with an unknown enemy that the reader is not aware of. The reader is aware of the dangers and wonders if the hero will survive.
Moreover, both mysteries and suspense are characterized by a central character, often a woman. Jane Eyre’s novel is an example of this. The protagonist must work against the clock to save her or her life. The short-term suspense may be part of the main story, or a distraction. The mad dog scene in To Kill a Mockingbird is a distraction that ties into the main theme.
Besides the characters in a suspense novel, it also needs a compelling hero. The hero needs to be someone that readers can root for. The writer needs to create a pressure cooker so the reader feels as if they are experiencing the same thing. The suspense writer must make sure that suspense does not get too easy. In order to keep the heat up, the hero must overcome insurmountable odds and save the day.
Psychological suspense is another popular subgenre. Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train are two recent releases in this genre. These books have been a boon to new works in this genre. Similarly, psychological suspense titles have grown in popularity, with Gone Girl becoming an immediate bestseller. While some editors might think that psychological suspense titles have become a cliche, others are betting that readers will feel differently.
Simon Wood says psychological suspense has been growing in popularity. Many thrillers, including The Girl on the Train and The Girl on the Train have gained popularity around the world. In fact, some editors and readers may even have become tired of psychological suspense. The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl, a psychological thriller, dominated the bestseller lists throughout the summer. Both books are a hit internationally and continue to be a top seller on the Publishers Weekly paperback bestseller list.
One theory is that suspense is created by the difference between the reader’s knowledge and the author’s. Alfred Hitchcock discussed this idea. It could explain why suspenseful texts can cause tension. This theory is not applicable in this experiment. Instead, the disparity between the reader and character knowledge seems to be the primary element that builds suspense.