Friday, August 3, 2018

Elana K. Arnold: On Tension

Elana K. Arnold is the award-winning writer of books for kids and teens, including National Book Award finalist What Girls Are Made Of.

It's our job as writers to create tension and release it. It's the spinal cord of the book. It gives the book energy and movement. 

On the other side of tension is comfort, which comes from the relief. 

"Let me hurt you, so later I can heal you." That's what we do as writers. "A writers job is to take away comfort to create tension." 

Any time we create imbalance, that causes tension.

  • change the frame
    • zoom in
    • zoom out
  • Speed thing up, slow things down, suspend time
  • Hyper-focus on details
  • Let details wash over the reader and run together
  • Focus on something mundane and wrong for the situation
  • Add a ticking clock
  • Give someone a secret
  • Dialogue 
  • Lie
  • Present a paradox
  • Use cycles to your advantage
Our job as writers is to:
  • push the reader
  • unbalance the reader
  • give the reader the pleasure of being uncomfortable

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