Posted in books, creative writing, date shark series, eliza carlisle mystery, someone wicked this way comes, the arcane wielders series, the destroyer trilogy, the handbook series, wicked hunger, writing, writing advice, writing thoughts, writing tips

Creating consistent and engaging tension that will keep the reader’s attention

Tension is key to keeping the reader interested!

Tension is what keeps a reader interested in the progression of the story. If the reader doesn’t feel any concern about how the story will end, they will lose interest. Below are some tactics for creating tension.

Character-related tension: When developing characters, there must be points of tension built into their character arc. This often includes goals they will struggle to reach, important consequences or stumbling blocks they will face, personality traits that lead to choices that hurt themselves or others, or backstories that create barriers to success.

In my Destroyer Series, Libby Sparks knows her inquest will reveal secrets she been trying to keep hidden her entire life. In the chapter leading up to inquest, her thoughts are consumed with what will happen once she’d revealed, and whether she’ll survive the night.

Opposing goals that create tension: A single character may have opposing goals (high profile career and stable family life), or multiple characters may have opposing goals that interfere with the other person’s goals (both want the same partner or job). This doesn’t have to be just in the form of the protagonist/antagonist. Characters involved may go back and forth between the two roles.

Sanford and Dahlia have opposing goals in the opening of Life & Being. Sanford is determined to reconnect with Dahlia and warn her of increased police activity on campus after witnessing a suspicious exchange between and another student. All Dahlia wants is to be left alone with her secrets until she can escape her father and his ever-tightening control. Their goals start to align once they both start to realize nothing either of them believed is actually true, but their early opposition creates a great deal of tension between them on all levels.

Raise the stakes: As soon as a character reaches a milestone, present a new complication to reaching the next one. There should, of course, be lulls between points of tension to give the reader a break, but the overall tension should continue to rise as the story progresses toward the climax. When outlining, be sure to pair every step toward development with a stumbling block.

Eliza Carlisle can’t get a break from the stakes being raised in any the mysteries she’s involved with. After spending five years in hiding, she comes to New York to attend culinary school (a major milestone for her!) only to realize she’s moved into the most bizarre building in the city. Just as she makes peace with the fact that she can’t afford anything else, a neighbor turns up dead.

Question-related tension: Never make the path to success or the HEA so obvious that the reader never questions it. Problems and complications should push the reader to ask how the character will resolve or overcome a challenge. A unique story arc should always have the reader questioning how the characters will reach the end, even if they “know” it will end happily.

Everything Kate says or does creates questions for Sam in Torino Dreams. Her past is a mystery, as are her sudden disappearances. Even when she finally begins to open up to Sam, more questions arise about how she can possibly survive what’s coming after her and her adopted son.

Tension though internal/external conflict: Most stories need a balance of internal and external conflict. As a character overcomes an internal conflict (establishing self-confidence), present an external one (a parent is diagnosed with an illness). Allow flaws and weaknesses to complicate the character’s path of development by letting them make bad or hurtful choices. This forces them to reevaluate themselves and their goals or priorities. External conflict takes the story out of the character’s hands, briefly, and puts the focus back on the story arc.

In The Crazy Girl’s Handbook, Greenly faces both types of conflict in order to keep the tension (and laughs) going. Argeeing to babysit her nephews puts her face-to-face with blind date she bailed on, thanks to her sister’s games. She not only has to battle her own self-perceptions and fears about relationships, the universe seems out to get her with one mishap after another, including Roman’s angry ex-wife.

Remove filler to improve tension: Evaluate scenes for their relevance and importance. Lulls in tension are important, because they give the reader time to process and think about the characters and story between points of tension, but if a scene is merely filler and accomplishes neither tension nor contemplation, it will only slow the tension to the point that readers might lose interest.

Withholding information to create tension: Only give the reader as much information as they need in a scene to understand it. Hold back enough to urge them to keep reading and get to the next scene. This is especially important with revealing backstory or mystery/suspense elements.

Uriah and Claire spend almost the entire Twin Souls series dealing with withheld information. Their tribe’s myths and legends are a part of their heritage, but they discover step-by-step that most of what they grew up believing are either lies or have been twisted to mislead. The reader leans bits and pieces along with them, unraveling the mystery of Claire and Uriah’s bond one page at a time.

Time-related tension: Putting a deadline on a goal creates an overarching tension. Don’t just set a deadline and forget about it, though. Find ways to remind the reader of the deadline AND what’s at risk if the deadline isn’t met.

Date Shark Eli Walsh is put on a deadline when his friend Ana discovers he’s falling for the woman she asked him to help by acting as her dating coach. If he doesn’t fulfill his promise to Ana, she’ll end her friendship with him and make sure Leila cuts him off as well.

Wicked Hunger, book 1 of Someone Wicked Series

Use pacing to improve tension: Be aware of pacing when considering tension. A scene only needs to last as long as it takes to relay information and provide character/story development. Start and end with action in each scene and skip the day-to-day elements that don’t add anything. Also, match the scene length to the type of tension. High tension scenes tend to be shorter and more explosive, while scenes that reveal something slowly are usually longer and build progressively.

The Someone Wicked This Way Comes Series is filled with tense battles and moments of contemplation while Zander and Vanessa Roth struggle to control their frightening powers and learn the truth of where they came from. Where the battles are intense and concise, the moments where they’re investigating or exploring their love interests give the reader time to take in the information more slowly.

Posted in new release, someone wicked this way comes, wicked hunger, wicked power, ya paranormal, ya science fiction, ya urban fantasy

Wicked Glory Release Day!!!

RELEASE DAY!!!

Wicked Glory is now available for purchase on Kindle, iBooks, Smashwords, and most other major ebook platforms.

Not familiar with the series? 

Here’s the 30 seconds recap…

Wicked Hunger

Born with an insatiable hunger for pain and suffering, Vanessa and Zander Roth struggle to hide the truth of who they really are. Keeping their secrets becomes even harder when Ivy Guerra arrives and stirs their hunger into a frenzy. Will their need to feed on other’s agony turn them into villains, or can they somehow find a way to become the heroes of their own dark story?

Wicked Power

Even after Vanessa and Zander Roth barely survive the Eroi’s attempt to expose them for what they are, they aren’t safe. Sitting balanced on the edge of impending death and unthinkable power, they must turn to the Godlings for help. Their help requires payment, but neither of them knows the true cost. Will David’s training create villains,as they fear, or can they discover their true purpose?

Wicked Glory

Forced with holding up their end of an impossible bargain, Van and Zander must choose between playing it safe and risking everything. Freedom seems impossible, but can they hold onto who they are long enough to survive?

Ready to go grab your copies? 

Wicked Hunger (FREE on many platforms): AmazoniBooksSmashwords
Wicked Power: AmazoniBooksSmashwords
Wicked Glory: AmazoniBooksSmashwords

And yes, there will be a book 4 😉

Posted in dystopian, escaping fate, fantasy, free book, invisible, paranormal, twin souls, wicked hunger, young adult

Free Books Anyone?

We’re coming up on summer, let’s get to reading! 

I’ll be sharing my official summer reading list recommendations in the next few weeks (There are some awesome books on it!), but until then, you’re more than welcome to grab one of these FREEBIES and share them with your friends. All of them. Seriously. 

Not sure where to get them? 
Well, here are the links!

Invisible

(working on Kindle, they’re slow. Right now it’s only .99)

Inquest

Escaping Fate

Wattpad (full book will be up this month)

Wicked Hunger

Twin Souls

Happy reading everyone!

Posted in date shark, delsheree gladden, new release, publishing, wicked hunger, wicked power

Luck 13?

This spring has been a marathon of book releases!

Last fall, my original spring book-related plans involved releasing Intangible (Aerling Series #2) and Soul Stone (Escaping Fate #2).

Two books, that’s not to bad, so how did it turn into releasing FIVE books within four months? 

It started with the fact that the publisher I was signed with at the time was not holding up their end of the bargain and I was very unhappy with them. I ended up breaking contract and taking Wicked Hunger back. I wasn’t looking for another publisher (I was pretty done with that by then), but my friend Leah recommended Clean Teen Publishing to me. Now, Leah always has the best ideas, so naturally, I listened.

At the same time, another friend and fellow author, the talented Apryl Baker, recommended her publisher, Limitless Publishing, to me for Invisible, which was doing really well on Wattpad then and now.

So, I decided to test them both out. I sent a query for Wicked Hunger to CTP and one for Invisible to Limitless. CTP got back right away and absolutely loved Wicked Hunger and wanted the whole series. They were so put together and excited, I decided to risk what could possibly be another bad publishing experience, and signed the series with them. I am absolutely thrilled that I did because they have been amazing, and that added two more books to my spring release schedule, since Wicked Power was nearly finished at the time.

Limitless had been inundated with queries at the time I submitted, since the only rarely open up for
submissions, and by the time they got to Invisible they had already closed YA submissions. But… they still read the book, liked my writing, and asked if I had a contemporary romance. As it so happened, I did! I sent them Date Shark, which was scary because NO ONE else had read it (I don’t recommend this), but they loved it and offered me a contract for a three book series. I was thrilled, and it added one more book to the spring schedule, topping it off at 5.

This spring has been incredibly hectic having released two indie books and three traditionally published books, but I wouldn’t trade the craziness for anything. I now have 13 published books, all of which I am so thrilled to share with my readers. Wicked Hunger and Wicked Power are doing awesome thanks to the tireless hard work of the CTP team, and Date Shark just hit the digital and regular shelves. I consider myself so amazing blessed to have found two publishers willing to get behind me and my books, even when I’m up late at night finishing edits or writing blog tour posts or sharing links on every Facebook group known to man. I also have some of the most amazing fans who share my books with anyone who will listen and never lose their enthusiasm.

If you want to see what all the craziness has been about, you can find my new releases here: 

Wicked Hunger (FREEBIE)

Soul Stone
Intangible

So, what’s coming up this summer? 

Lots and lots of writing. My Wattpad fans are waiting for Invincible (Aerling Series #3) as patiently as the possibly can. CTP is eager for Wicked Glory (Someone Wicked #3). Limitless has Date Shark #2 on the schedule. I also have Oracle Lost outlined and waiting patiently for its turn. It’ll be a busy summer, but I’m looking forward to it!

What do your summer reading plans include? 

Posted in delsheree gladden, someone wicked this way comes, wicked hunger, wicked power, ya paranormal, ya urban fantasy

Happy Release Day!!!

NEW RELEASE IN THE YOUNG ADULT PARANORMAL ROMANCE SERIES: SOMEONE WICKED THIS WAY COMES.

Find out why Kirkus Reviews said: The pairing of a formulaic start and formula-breaking ending makes the book ideal for paranormal-romance readers seeking a new spin on the familiar. 

NOW AVAILABLE (RELEASED TODAY): 

WICKED POWER by DelSheree Gladden

Save $1 on Wicked Power. Price: $4.99 / Reduced to $3.99 for 72 hours only! 

“Wicked Power is what he craves. He collects it and turns it into wicked glory—the glory of ruling everything and everyone.”

Even after Vanessa and Zander Roth barely survive the Eroi’s attempt to expose them for what they are, they aren’t safe. Sitting balanced on the edge of impending death and unthinkable power, they reluctantly turn to the other Godlings for help. 

What they find and learn while being trained by the arrogant leader makes them question whether they are being trained to be a weapon for good or evil. Soon enough, Van and Zander find themselves once again on opposing paths. 
A lot of things happen to Godlings as they near their sixteenth birthday, including the impending full strength of their hunger. When Van starts exhibiting some strange abilities, which include a heightened intuition and frightening visions of the future, she soon learns that she’s not like the others. She knows she must do everything she can to protect her secrets from their leader, who will use her as a weapon if he finds out. Thankfully, Van is not alone. She has the help of her best friend—and the one boy she shouldn’t be falling in love with—Ketchup. 
While Van is dealing with her own problems, Zander finds himself embracing the training of the Godlings, even though their methods are cruel and harsh. He finds himself clinging to the hope that he can redeem himself, even after falling into Ivy’s trap and putting their family’s lives in danger. Along the way, Zander finds himself falling for an unlikely accomplice, who has him wondering if he even loved Ivy at all. 
Redemption and protection both take a backseat when a shocking discovery puts everything they have worked for in jeopardy. The choice between safety and freedom has never been more important, and in the end… they may not have a choice at all. 
Wicked Power is the second book in the all-new paranormal series, Someone Wicked This Way Comes.

GET BOOK 1 FOR FREE!

WICKED HUNGER by DelSheree Gladden

FREE KINDLE BOOK! KINDLE FREEBIE! 
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing

“Save him and hurt him, don’t save him and hurt him. Pain, either way. Delicious pain. Hunger will be the only one that wins. Hunger always wins.”

Vanessa and Zander Roth are good at lying. Their whole life is a giant web of deceit made in an effort to conceal the deadly secrets that plague their family.

Zander will do anything to forget his mistakes, including pushing everyone away. He was barely surviving in his self-forced solitude before Ivy Guerra entered his life. The new girl in school, with her pink-striped hair and unyielding curiosity, incites something wicked inside Zander that can only be blamed on his family genes. Now Zander is forced to fight an internal war and make a choice between loving Ivy Guerra and killing her.

Vanessa wants nothing more than to shed the strange powers she wields and be normal. Because if Van were normal, she’d be able to have normal things… Like a relationship with the boy she’s been secretly in love with for years. Unfortunately, her life is anything but ordinary. That boy who owns her heart just happens to be her brother’s kryptonite and a potential liability for her entire family. When choices between love and family loyalty have to be made, Van finds herself faced with an impossible decision.



As if the Roth family needs anything more to worry about, a vicious plot to expose Van and Zander for what they are is uncovered. When it becomes apparent that someone close to them is at the center of this devious plan, the fight to maintain control and keep their cover ensues. It’s a seemingly impossible battle because something is causing their powers to stir stronger than ever before… and it won’t stop until Van and Zander give in to their wicked hunger.

Wicked Hunger is the first book in the all-new paranormal series, Someone Wicked This Way Comes.

KIRKUS REVIEW OF WICKED HUNGER

Teenage siblings with a dark secret find their lives complicated by the arrival of a mysterious girl.
Zander and Van are tougher and heal faster than ordinary teenagers. However, the price is a terrible, mysterious hunger—a bloodlust that becomes intensified by specific individuals. Younger Van does her best to suppress it so she can have friends and a normal life; Zander instead keeps everyone at arm’s length and warns Van that once her 16th birthday hits and her powers reach full strength, she should do so as well. Ivy, a new girl—cousin to one of Van’s friends—puts everything at risk. Both Zander and Van hunger to hurt her, but Zander falls for her in a push-pull love story reminiscent of Twilight, right down to Zander’s sneaking into Ivy’s room to watch her sleep. Van, however—when she’s not busy with a love triangle of her own, with a mysterious boy she’s just met and her trusty best friend, Ketchup—is suspicious that certain things don’t add up with Ivy. The conclusion, made strong by unraveling secrets and formula-shattering twists, sets up a sequel.
The pairing of a formulaic start and formula-breaking ending makes the book ideal for paranormal-romance readers seeking a new spin on the familiar. (Paranormal romance. 13-17) 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

DelSheree Gladden lives in New Mexico with her husband and two children. The Southwest is a big influence in her writing because of its culture, beauty, and mythology. Local folk lore is strongly rooted in her writing, particularly ideas of prophecy, destiny, and talents born from natural abilities. When she is not writing, DelSheree is usually reading, painting, sewing, or working as a Dental Hygienist. Her works include Escaping Fate, Twin Souls Saga, The Destroyer Trilogy, and Invisible. The first book in the Someone Wicked This Way Comes series, Wicked Hunger, is scheduled to be released through Clean Teen Publishing on April 1, 2014.

Want to READ MORE from Clean Teen Publishing? 

Check out our huge selection of amazing reads! There’s sure to be something for every reader!
 BE THE FIRST TO KNOW about our GIVEAWAYS, NEW RELEASES, COVER REVEALS and MORE! Join our VIP Mailing List


   

Posted in delsheree gladden, someone wicked this way comes, wicked hunger, ya paranormal, ya urban fantasy, young adult

Wicked Hunger Book Trailer Debut!

I know I’m a little behind in getting the book trailer for Wicked Hunger finished up and released, but here it is! I hope everyone enjoys it!

Interested in grabbing a copy? 

Wicked Hunger is available now on: 

(free shipping worldwide)
…and coming soon to all your other favorite ebook stores!