Increasing your Story’s Tension

I found the following five tips from posted on Facebook:

  1. Don’t let your characters have what they want.
  2. Ask how you can make your character’s situation worse.
  3. Build flaws and conflict into your setting/story.
  4. Create conflict between your characters.
  5. Increase the consequences of failure for the hero.



New Prose Poetry: “I am Assaulted.” by Larry Thacker

In constant struggle with some barely met
demon-god’s angels, just over my shoulders,
along the path of my spine, hovering near
my ears, observing every thought, watching
my faulty movements, keeping time on a watch
I hear ticking but have yet to find hidden
among my debris. Counting breaths. Whispering
their dreaded counting of days. Moving with me,
forever me. I have lost count of their faces.
Their choruses beg attention, un-focusing me,
in languages I’ve given up hope understanding,
an alien tongue lashing, familiar to maddening.
I catch only fragments of messages, tones,
inflections, infections. My struggle, a prayerful
resentment, to find a perfect key, my own
tabula meditatum psychonum. Something to eek
the translation toward wholeness – some gift to
weaken cracks into the sealed gate where they
stand hunched about, listening to my weakened
fists pounding on the other side. They command
my waking hours and somewhere in my dead
sleep, my dreams un-spared. They frighten
my inner workings, these messages, urgent.
I spot wings in the corners of my eyes, shadow-
wrapped in life’s clutter. I turn, they evade,
cleverly plunging from sight. This awful game
they insist upon. They distract me from my days,
a thirsty tick just out of reach, drawing my energies
almost too slowly to notice. Slowly, like the many
voices growing in the veins of ancient trees.
 I hear you, yes. Oh, by the gods I hear you…


Larry D. Thacker is a writer and artist from Tennessee (US). His stories can be found in past issues of The Still Journal, Fried Chicken and Coffee, Dime Show Review and The Emancipator. His poetry can be found in journals and magazines such as The Still Journal, The Southern Poetry Anthology: Tennessee, Mojave River Review, Broad River Review, Harpoon Review, Rappahannock Review, and Appalachian Heritage. He is the author of Mountain Mysteries: The Mystic Traditions of Appalachia, the poetry chapbooks, Voice Hunting and Memory Train and the forthcoming full collection Drifting in Awe. He is presently taking his MFA in poetry and fiction at West Virginia Wesleyan College. More stuff

David’s Haunted Library: The Box Jumper

  A box Jumper is a magician’s assistant and one of Houdini’s box jumpers was Leona Derwatt. Leona came from a working class background and her father idolized Houdini. In 1919 she…

Source: David’s Haunted Library: The Box Jumper