Micro Tension – Keep Your Reader Flipping Those Pages

Micro Tension - Keep Your Reader Flipping Those Pages

Well after a long hiatus I’m back with more discussion on writing. Donald Maass, perhaps the most powerful literary agent in the business, cites micro-tension as the most important weapon in an author’s arsenal to create compelling novels. But what is micro-tension?

Micro-tension is those little conflicts (not necessarily physical) that keep the reader moving page after page, even when key plot points aren’t taking place. A character is spooked by a house – that’s micro tension. John’s wife gives him a small, but not unnoticed glare from across the room – that’s micro tension.

Mastering micro-tension is key to mastering the story that readers just can’t put down.

Read an excerpt from Maass’s book, The Fire in Fiction (which I highly recommend reading), and a follow-up discussion by Wordswimmer, to learn more about the power of micro-tension.



2 thoughts on “Micro Tension – Keep Your Reader Flipping Those Pages

  1. I use Maass’ book almost every day, and occasionally flip through some of his others such as Writing 21st Century Fiction. Why? Because his questions make me think – which kicks up my game.

    It also makes me take ten times as long to get something right, but that’s the price, isn’t it? Questions must be answered, and the text edited, and the tension clarified and strengthened – or that baby doesn’t go out the door. I use FIF as a handy checklist.


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