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How to write a page turner: A masterclass in creating suspense in fiction

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Master one of fiction’s most delicate and important arts with Claire McGowan

About this event

A killer plot is only half the story. No matter what kind of fiction you’re writing, knowing how to build and exploit suspense is crucial. Suspense quickens the pace of your narrative, adds thrilling elements of mystery and unpredictability, and makes the difference between a potboiler and a pulse-quickening page turner.

Tutor Claire McGowan, author of the acclaimed Paula Maguire crime series, is an expert in the finer points of suspense. She will teach authors of any genre of fiction how to use different elements of writing to create dramatic tension, as well as ways in which to provide a satisfying conclusion to a suspenseful plotline.

You’ll learn how to use every part of your writing – from your characters to your narration – to keep your readers on the edge of their seats. You’ll also find out how to provide powerful conclusions to every build-up, which will leave your readers satisfied – if emotionally exhausted.

Course Content

  • The two key questions your reader should pose
  • Four types of suspense
  • Techniques for adding suspense
  • The importance of characterisation in adding tension
  • Adding tension while editing

This course is for…

  • Fiction authors who wants to inject excitement and drama into their writing.
  • People that have completed a first draft of a novel which they feel lacks pace or drama.

Tutor Profile

Claire McGowan is the author of five acclaimed crime novels, including the Paula Maguire series, which was optioned by the BBC. Claire is a senior lecturer on the crime thriller MA programme at City University London. Read more about Claire on her website.

Course Details

  • Date: Saturday 25 September 2021
  • Time: 10am-4pm (BST)

10am BST | 11am CEST | 2am PDT | 5am EDT

This masterclass is available globally. If you are joining us from outside the United Kingdom, please use this time zone converter to check your local live streaming time.

You will be sent a link to the webinar two hrs before the start time. Please email masterclasses@theguardian.com if you have not received the access link within one hour of the scheduled start time.

All Guardian Masterclasses are fully accessible but please contact us at masterclasses@theguardian.com if you have any queries or concerns.

Full course and returns information on the Masterclasses website

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Organiser Guardian Masterclasses

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Welcome to Guardian Masterclasses – a unique programme of learning embedded within one of the world's most forward-thinking media organisations.

Masterclasses offer a broad range of short and long courses across a variety of disciplines from creative writing, journalism, photography and design, film and digital media, music and cultural appreciation.

Harnessing the expertise and specialisms within the organisation, our courses are led by first class and award winning guardian professionals whilst also drawing on the skills and expertise of other leading figures at the forefront of the creative and digital industries.

The programme is aimed at anyone interested in personal or professional development whether that be refining your skills, focusing your ambition or simply broadening your mind and gaining inspiration.


































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