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Creating Tension in Prose [Becky Mandelbaum]

All Levels | Tension is one of the main driving forces of narrative—it’s the thing that keeps the reader turning the page, the addictive quality that makes people stay up past their bedtime to see what happens next. In this course, we’ll explore how tension works in relation to plot, narrative arc, character development, and pacing, looking at examples from stories like Carmen Maria Machado’s “The Husband Stitch” and essays like Lidia Yuknavitch’s “Woven.” Through in-class exercises and games, we’ll work on how to build, maintain, and finally relieve tension, whether
it’s over the course of a short scene or epic novel.