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Monday, April 14, 2008

James Dashner--What He Did Right

In a previous "promotion" post, I advertised author James Dashner, and he, in return, gave me a copy of his new book, "The 13th Reality." And guess what? In "reality," I was quite pleased with how well written it was. Besides that, my fourteen-year-old daughter couldn't put it down.

But I digress. What I'd really like to talk about is three of the techniques Dashner used to create his well-done suspense.

1)-He added a puzzle to the story, or in this case, a bunch of mysterious letters which contained clues that both the main character, Tick, and the reader wanted to figure out. True, some of the answers were mildly obvious, but I felt that those that were didn't detract from the suspense; they only served to make the reader feel smart.

2)-Every chapter ended with a cliff hanger, such as an unanswered question, an unresolved conflict, or the threat of future harm to come.

3)-He used Hitchcock's "bomb under the card table" technique. In fact, one of his most suspenseful sections had a threatening, mechanical device attached to the bottom of the main character's car. The main character didn't know it was there, but the reader sure did!

So, again, well done, J. Dashner.


Jennifer said...

It sounds like it was really well done. We could all learn a thing or two from J.D. about getting the reader on the edge of their seat.

James Dashner said...

Hey, thanks for the nice words! I'm really glad you liked it. Whew. :-)

Janette Rallison said...

I'm reading it right now and think it's really well done too.