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What makes a good horror story?
Sure, you could throw in some hideous monsters,
fountains of blood,
and things jumping out from every corner,
but as classic horror author H.P. Lovecraft wrote,
"The oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown."
And writers harness that fear not by revealing horrors,
but by leaving the audience hanging in anticipation of them.
That is, in a state of suspense.
The most familiar examples of suspense come from horror films and mystery novels.
What's inside the haunted mansion?
Which of the dinner guests is the murderer?
But suspense exists beyond these genres.
Will the hero save the day?
Will the couple get together in the end?
And what is the dark secret that causes the main character so much pain?
The key to suspense is that it sets up a question, or several,
that the audience hopes to get an answer to
and delays that answer while maintaining their interest and keeping them guessing.
So what are some techniques you can use to achieve this in your own writing?
Limit the point of view.
Instead of an omniscient narrator who can see and relay everything that happens,
tell the story from the perspective of the characters.
They may start off knowing just as little as the audience does,
and as they learn more, so do we.
Classic novels, like "Dracula," for example, are told through letters and diary entries
where characters relate what they've experienced
and fear what's to come.
Next, choose the right setting and imagery.
Old mansions or castles with winding halls and secret passageways
suggest that disturbing things are being concealed.
Nighttime, fog, and storms all play similar roles in limiting visibility
and restricting characters' movements.
That's why Victorian London is such a popular setting.
And even ordinary places and objects can be made sinister
as in the Gothic novel "Rebecca"
where the flowers at the protagonist's new home are described as blood red.
Three: play with style and form.
You can build suspense by carefully paying attention not just to what happens
but how it's conveyed and paced.
Edgar Allan Poe conveys the mental state of the narrator in "The Tell-Tale Heart"
with fragmented sentences that break off suddenly.
And other short declarative sentences in the story
create a mix of breathless speed and weighty pauses.
On the screen, Alfred Hitchcock's cinematography
is known for its use of extended silences and shots of staircases
to create a feeling of discomfort.
Four: use dramatic irony.
You can't just keep the audience in the dark forever.
Sometimes, suspense is best served
by revealing key parts of the big secret to the audience but not to the characters.
This is a technique known as dramatic irony,
where the mystery becomes not what will happen
but when and how the characters will learn.
In the classic play "Oedipus Rex,"
the title character is unaware that he has killed his own father
and married his mother.
But the audience knows, and watching Oedipus gradually learn the truth
provides the story with its agonizing climax.
And finally, the cliffhanger.
Beware of overusing this one.
Some consider it a cheap and easy trick, but it's hard to deny its effectiveness.
This is where a chapter, episode, volume, or season
cuts off right before something crucial is revealed,
or in the midst of a dangerous situation with a slim chance of hope.
The wait, whether moments or years,
makes us imagine possibilities about what could happen next,
building extra suspense.
The awful thing is almost always averted,
creating a sense of closure and emotional release.
But that doesn't stop us from worrying and wondering the next time
the protagonists face near-certain disaster.
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【TED-Ed】如何創作出懸疑作品 (How to make your writing suspenseful - Victoria Smith)

10176 分類 收藏
osmend 發佈於 2018 年 5 月 17 日   Jamie 榕 翻譯   jenny 審核

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相信大家或多或少都喜歡看小說或追劇,但你有沒有想過,為什麼自己喜歡的作品會這麼引人入勝?或是你一直都希望能夠進行創作,可是卻不知道從哪裡著手?那就趕快來看這部影片吧!

1hideous 0:11
今天的第一個單字是 hideous,意思是「醜陋的」、「令人厭誤的」。
Sometimes it seems like the outfits on the runway are on the fine line between avant-garde and hideous.
有時候,伸展台上的服裝似乎介於前衛與醜陋之間。


除了視覺上的醜陋之外,hideous 也可以指「在道德上有重大瑕疵,因此讓人極度厭惡的」。
It is hideous how some people treat their less privileged counterparts.
有些人對待社經地位較他們低的人們的方式令人極度厭惡。


*同場加映:
【Wong Fu Productions】退禮諜對諜 (Gift Deceit)


2haunted 0:40
haunted 在影片中的意思是「鬧鬼的」。
Although many people do not believe in ghosts, most would still be reluctant to live in a haunted property.
雖然很多人都不相信鬼的存在,在大多數人還是不願意住在凶宅中。


haunt 這個動詞除了「鬼魂出沒」之外,也有「回憶、思想等縈繞在心頭」的意思。
Without therapy, experiences of emotional abuse can haunt a victim for many years.
如果沒有尋求心理諮商,精神虐待的經驗可能會纏繞受害者許多年。


3omniscient1:51
omniscient 是「全知的」,字根源自拉丁文的 omnis 「全」 即 sciens 「知」。 The Omnicient 「全知者」, 也是上帝的代稱。以下補充一些相同詞根的單字:
omnipotent: 「全能的」
omnipresent: 「無所不在的」
It is okay to want to be alone, because sometimes we do need to escape from the omnipresent sensory stimulation from the outside world.
想要獨處是沒關係的,因為有時候我們確實需要逃脫外在世界無所不在的感官刺激。


4cinematography 2:45
cinematography 專指「電影攝置藝術」,而「電影攝影技師」則是 cinematographer
Emmanuel Lubezki, the cinematographer behind "Birdman" and "The Tree of Life," is the first person to have won the Oscar for Best Cinematography for three consecutive years.
艾曼紐爾・盧貝茲基的作品包含《鳥人》和《永生樹》。他是第一位連續三年獲得奧斯卡最佳攝影獎的電影攝影技師。


*同場加映:
神力女超人如何運用色彩 (How Wonder Woman Uses Color)


5averted4:06
avert 在這裡的意思是「防止」、「避免」,不過 avert 更常見的用法是指「避開」、「移開」。
It was such a disturbing sight that I had to avert my gaze.
那個場景實在太驚恐了,讓我不得不移開視線。


aversion 指的則是「厭惡」、「反感」。
His aversion to injustice is the reason he became a civil rights lawyer.
他因為對不正義極度厭惡而成為了人權律師。


看完這部影片,試著回想你喜歡的作品運用了影片中提到的哪些手法吧!小 V 第一個想到的是《神秘列車》這部電影。該片有三段不同視角的片段組成,看完後真的有「喔,原來是這樣啊!」的感覺,讓人印象非常深刻。

文/ Rachel Kung

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