How to Tease Your Readers With Hints

Category: tension/conflict

I love hints. They are one device to keep the reader engaged in your story. A hint can point your readers in the direction you plan to take your character or it can be a diversion to keep the reader guessing about what will happen. I like to keep the readers wondering, so they will keep reading to find out what happens to the character. Mystery writers regularly use this technique as they introduce new suspects or new evidence. Any novel can use HINTS, to maintain their reader’s interest. Hints will help your novel become a ‘page turner’, and maybe a best seller.

Tip #1 Hint about pending disaster

Suggest possible problems or disasters, your character believes might happen. Consider telling your reader what your antagonist is planning.  If you are using a narrator, let the narrator warn the reader of impending disasters.

Example: Before I am finished she will wish she had never been born. I will make her life miserable.

Example: The journey had been difficult, Fred wondered what else could go wrong.

He had no inkling of the disaster, on the horizon.                                                                                                                      2 two hearts

Example: A prickling sensation along my spine told me there was danger.

Tip #2 Hint about romance.

This can go either way. The hint can be about the romance, becoming more serious or falling apart.

Example: Suddenly, alarms went off in my head. He had scared me in the beginning. Now I was determined to discover why. He had secrets. I would find the truth.

Example: Fragile women have always frightened me. But in that moment, all I wanted to do was protect her.

Tip #3. Suggestions of hope

Have your character become excited when they feel they may be on the edge of success.

Example: I have a hunch this is going to work. I just need a little more courage and maybe a little luck.         using hints in creative writing

Example: In my heart I knew it was the right decision. Now I must be patient and let it play out.

I can’t wait to see his face when it all comes together.

Tip #4 Hints about an upcoming change

Turning points can be heightened with hints about the change. Your characters may experience several changes of

direction in your story line. Hints can add to the emotional impact of those changes.

Example: I was to learn there were more mysteries, more intense surprises awaiting me than I ever dreamed.

My talents and strengths were about to be stretched beyond my imagination. Would I triumph?

Example: Familiar sites and sounds nagged at my memory. There was something compelling about this place.


Can you think of other ways to foreshadow events in your novel?

Use our forum to talk to other writers about this technique.


Happy writing!

John and Patty.

If you found this technique helpful, please share with your friends.

copyright 8/15/15 all rights reserved

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