And the 21 Hacks to Suspense goes on . . .

  1. Rip it from the headlines.

The daily news is a terrific place to get ideas for suspense. Recently at a writing conference session I brought the morning paper (yes, it was a town that still has one) to show how easy it is to get story ideas.

As we worked, I realized that you really can find suspense in practically every section. Will the local skating pair make it to the Olympics? What if one of them is having an affair with the coach? Here’s an ad for a lost camera. A reward is involved. What images might be on that memory card? A happy family picnic? Maybe. Maybe not.

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