Creating Narrative Tension

The concept of narrative tension goes to the heart of what a storyteller creates to draw in and maintain a hold on the attention of an audience. When a story’s audience is drawn in to feel tension over the course and outcome of a story, that audience will feel a need to experience the relief offered by a story’s resolution and fulfillment.

To heighten a story’s narrative tension, a well-designed plot creates growing obstacles to how a situation that revolves around an issue of human need will be resolved. Hence the emotional investment — and ultimately, the relief — of the audience grows. Conversely, if the characters in a story don’t feel a tension that drives their actions to overcome obstacles to resolve what’s at stake in a story– to find true love in a romantic story, for example — why should the audience feel a sense of tension over the story’s outcome?

A script that lacks narrative tension risks becoming a sterile accounting of events.

Request This Free Speech