Do readers even like suspense?


No matter what you write, it seems that we all have been told to build some degree of suspense in our stories. Could we have been wrong this whole time? As a reader, do you have the urge to flip to the back of a mystery to see whodunit? After you finish a thriller, do you reread it over again? And do you get the same amount, or even more satisfaction from it even though you know how it wil turn out?

If you believe a recent University of California at San Diego study, most readers like stories more if they know how it will end. The study concludes that a good story has “far more to do with the quality of the writing and character development than with a nail-biting plot.”

I admit that when I craft a story, I tend to spend a far greater amount of time struggling with the finer points of assembling a suspenseful plot than I do with developing the characters. But it seems like I should change up that formula. I mean, we all know that the good guys always win. Rocky will always triumph in the ring, and we all knew that sooner or later, Harry Potter would ultimately beat Lord Voldemort. But it’s the characters, isn’t it? We want to see how Rocky changes over time, how he deals with going from a brawling wannabe to the trials and tribulations he has to deal with as champ. We want to see how Harry not only grows up with the added stresses of being a wizard, but how he will save the world. Like political strategist James Carville told Bill Clinton during his 1992 presidential campaign, “It’s the economy, stupid”, for us writers, “Is it the characters, stupid?”  


Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author whose latest, award-winning suspense thriller, The Brink, is now available as an eBook for Kindle and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!

The Brink is a hell of a read.” – Bestselling author Sandra Brown

“Mark Fadden is a masterful storyteller.” – Writer’s Digest

“Mark Fadden is the next Dan Brown.” – Triple C Ranch Book Club, Southlake, Texas

Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at

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