21 Fast Hacks to suspense continues . . .

  1. Isolate ’em.

Isolation of a select character or group of characters intensifies the most ordinary circumstances into suspenseful ones. Consider all those closed-room murder mysteries by Agatha Christie, as well as stuck-on-a-boat adventure tales such as Jack London’s The Sea Wolf and Yann Martel’s Life of Pi.

Plays can be great venues for the isolation breed of suspense—by default we have characters in close proximity to one another onstage, and we know rats in a cage will fight eventually. How else might you create isolation—which, by the way, can be temporary? How about a stuck elevator, a sudden storm, even a flat tire?

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