Most writers and readers have at least a passing familiarity with suspense as a fiction technique, as an effect and as a genre. Hills addresses all of these aspects of suspense in this section, and in doing so makes some value judgments you may or may not agree with.
What I think you will agree with is that suspense can be a powerful aspect of foreshadowing, however you choose to approach it. I tend to agree with Hills’ assessment of the pitfalls of suspense, but it’s important to stress that this is not akin to authorial fraud. Suspense, like sex, sells. It has a reliable, predictable effect on the reader, and in a craft driven by the need to attract and hold interest it does both.
The main problem with suspense is that, like sex, it quite often obliterates all other aspects of a work, no matter how well they might have been implemented. Unbridled, suspense has the power to overwhelm any story, becoming not simply an engine of interest, but the only interest. [ Read more ]