Surprise! The amazing J.A. Bennett volunteered to fill my trope post this week. How cool is that? Revisions are going well. Thank you everyone who commented and read my hiatus post. Your words are ultra encouraging.
Take it away, J.A.! (I'll use parentheses, okay?)
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There are many ways to build suspense in a story: secrets, lies, action, betrayal, but what about those times when suspense needs to be a bit more subtle?
(You know you want to open it!)
The Mysterious Letter - a way to create mystery without being direct. The main character will receive a letter, but the contents of the paper aren’t shown until later in the story. Sometimes the letter will incite the character to action and other times the letter is kept secret, not by their own choice, but because it is kept from them.
Harry gets a letter addressed to him in green ink, but he doesn't know what it says until Hagrid brings it to him.
In Letters to Juliet, a letter is found in a mysterious place, but the contents of the letter are known. It isn't until the character finds the owner of the letter that the real action begins (wink, wink, nod, nod).
(Is it horrible that I haven't seen this yet?)
The letter can also be a series of letters. In P.S. I Love You, the main character loses her husband to a brain tumor, but before he dies, he writes her ten letters that takes his wife on a journey to find life again.
(That makes water come out of my eyes - not joking.)
Whether it be romantic or intriguing, The Mysterious Letter can add a rich layer of suspense to any story.
I'm J. A. and you've got mail!
"Geez ... stop forwarding this crap to me!"
(Want to fill in for trope or advice posts? Email me and we'll discuss the low down on the high up ... and stuff)