Thursday, May 31, 2012

Give that guy a gun - or maybe a phone - for some added drama

Raymond Chandler once said, "When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand."

He was talking about adding tension to a story, of course. I would never doubt Chandler. It worked for him.  And I agree, guys and guns most definitely liven up a scene.

But there are other ways to add dramatic elements, too. My personal favorite? The midnight call.

You write what you know, and in real life, I find few things creepier than being woken from a sound sleep by the chirp of a cell phone or worse, the loud ringing of a little-used landline telephone.

You just know there's something bad on the other end. Your stomach knots, your heart starts pounding. But you have to answer it.

I hate when it happens to me.

But I love to do it to my characters. Because anything, or anyone, can be on the other end of that line.

Even a guy with a gun.


  1. Great post. And so true about that trilling phone in the middle of the night. It's jarring and scary.

    The only time it was good news for me was my daughter and her then-fiance calling to tell us about their engagement, which was called off. So, I guess it is always bad news at that time of day after all.

  2. Thanks, Beth!

    I'm always tempted NOT to answer it ... but then your imagination makes it worse!!!