Build Suspense Landing


build suspense


Plot your story events so that each scene has various levels and types of suspense. Learn how to build in the moments of tension and release your story needs so the reader always wonders what will happen next.

Picture of Barbara Vance

Barbara Vance




3h 25m

video runtime



Course Description

Suspense is critical for any story. If the reader doesn’t care what happens next, she is going to put the book down. Successful suspense has variety—in both suspense type and intensity. This workshop walks you through the conflict, obstacles, and stakes necessary to bring your story to life. It addresses both plot and character development while focusing on the emotional/mental journey you are taking the reader or viewer on.

This workshop addresses:

This course includes

What People Are Saying


“This workshop shows you how suspense is a lot more than just trying to make the viewer curious and then surprise him. There is a lot more to it than that. I would say the biggest benefit of this class is that it helps you take a lot of plot ideas you have and situate them in your story so that you get the most out of them. Just putting events in chronological order doesn’t likely do them justice.”

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This was such a helpful class. After I took I I realized how boring my conflict was. It was all so similar. I went back through the story and reoutlined it, adding in much more variety; it is actually a very different story now, but it is a much better one. My writing critique group was pretty blown away by how much better it got so quickly.

Picture of Celeste




“One of my top five courses from Barbara. This is a MUST.”

Picture of Denise




“So good. Made my novel a million times better.”

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I got a lot out of this. I didn’t appreciate the ways that suspense worked in a story. To be clear, this is not a course about the suspense genre. This is about how to create suspense in ANY story. I agree with Barbara, this pairs with the story stakes workshop. You will want to take them both.

Picture of Audrey




I had not thought of developing my character through suspense. I was always just thinking about how to make my reader wonder about what would happen next. This way is much better. It makes everything in the story “meatier” to use a Barbara-ism.

Picture of Gerald




I wish they had taught this during my MFA. This course is very practical. Barbara is right. If you take your time and do the work you really do create a solid outline of your story. I worked through this, and then went back and took her entire story design system. It was a game changer. I spend years getting a creative writing degree—but I didn’t walk away with much to show from it. Barbara’s teaching takes things that seem so abstract and gives you codified steps to follow—everything makes much more sense and is approachable and doable. I definitely do think you need to take time. If you rush her exercises you will still benefit, but not as much as if you spend the time to plot out something unique. This was a great course.”

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Barbara Vance, PhD

I am a writer and instructor who has been blessed to help thousands of writers bring their stories to life.

My degrees include a B.A. in literature, an MA in Literature and Creative Writing, and a PhD in storytelling and media. Prior to launching my own company, I taught writing and storytelling at a tier-one university.

Over the past sixteen years I have developed a widely acclaimed collection of courses designed to help writers develop their stories, stay on track, and finish what they start . . . even while juggling busy careers and a family.

I am also the author of a multi-award-winning poetry collection, and my poems are licensed for use in anthologies and curricula around the world.

No Risk 7-day, Money-back Guarantee

If you take the course and don’t feel like it helped, simply reach out to us, show us you have made an effort, and we will refund your full investment.

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