5 Techniques Suspense Authors Use to Keep Readers Hooked

Keep your readers on the edge when writing a suspenseful novel. Here are five ways to write a suspenseful story to keep your readers interested.

One of the most potent tactics is to start a novel or chapter in media res. This method puts the reader in the middle of rising action and emotional upheaval with little or no explanation.


Foreshadowing is the process of dropping hints about upcoming events in a story. Often used in mystery and suspense novels, foreshadowing is an effective way to keep readers engaged.

It can also set up plot twists and provide a sense of surprise. Foreshadowing works best when it is carefully planned and executed.

Foreshadowing can be done through dialogue, character actions, and the appearance of particular objects. For example, if a character speaks of the weather later in the book and suddenly turns dark and stormy, it foreshadows that something terrible will happen soon.


Clues are an excellent way for suspense author to keep readers hooked. Whether they’re planted along the storyline or found later on, clues give the reader information that points them to a killer.

One of the most important rules for using clues is to leave a trail of evidence that makes sense within the story’s context. It could mean that a murderer leaves a message in the victim’s blood, for example.

To amplify the effect of a clue, you can weave it into the dialogue between your characters. It can also be helpful to hide it in lists.


Flashbacks are a standard device that suspense authors use to keep readers hooked. These moments are meant to help readers understand the main character, their history, and how they got where they are today.

The use of flashbacks can also help you explain the central conflict in your story. For example, if you have a long history of bad blood between your protagonist and antagonist, you can use flashbacks to show your reader how that relationship came about.

The famous novel wuthering heights uses flashbacks to show how Heathcliff fell in love with Catherine before she died. It helps the reader understand why he was so upset by mentioning her name in chapter one.


Anticipation is a sense of anticipation or fears that readers feel as they wait for events in a story to unfold. It keeps them invested and wanting to know more, a feeling that can be applied across all fiction genres.

Anticipation occurs when an author hints through words, phrases, or imagery that hint at what will come in the story. It’s critical to make the hints subtle enough not to detract from the primary plot while letting the reader know what will happen next.


Whether in movies, television series, or novels, suspense authors know how to use cliffhangers to keep their readers hooked. In most cases, cliffhangers come at the end of a chapter or section and introduce new information that changes the course of the story.

They often end in a situation that will leave the reader with an intense dilemma, giving them a chance to think about their feelings. They also allow the reader to change their mind about something that happened in the last chapter or section.

Some of the best cliffhangers involve moral dilemmas that challenge the reader’s perception of right and wrong. They are often found in stories about the death of a loved one or in books where characters choose between loving someone or hating them.