No matter what genre you write it is always good to get the reader on the edge of their seat, flipping pages late into the night. But how do we do this? Is there a touch of magic to it, a secret coveted by the bestsellers? Not really. When you get down to it, it's pretty simple. Writing a page turner is all about infusing it with tension. Easier said than done, I know. Allow me to demystify it for you a bit.
The world does not have to be in peril for there to be tension in your novel, nor does anyone's life have to be at stake. Though if that's in there too, that's all well and good. The kind of tension I'm talking about is simpler than that. For young adult writers it can be the girl who is sweating as the boy she's crushing on sits down next to her on the bus. She may start biting her nails, fidgeting with her hair. Her heart will be racing faster, she'll be worried about how she looks, smells, what she wore. The tension could be as simple as will he talk to her before the bus comes to her stop.
To put it another way, a woman is sitting waiting for her husband to come home. When he does she hears the car door slam, followed by the front door, his lunchbox clatters to the counter making a terrible ruckus. He curses as he removes his shoes and throws his keys on the table. Immediately we know something is up and we're wondering what is going to happen. The big tension in the book is what makes people pick it up and take it home. But it's the micro-tension on every page that keeps them reading and will make them buy the next book. Tell me, how do you add tension, conflict, or interest to your writing?