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How Do the Writers Build Suspense?

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HOW DO THE WRITERS BUILD SUSPENSE? Short stories were very popular in the nineteenth century. In those days, there was not a lot of entertainment so people would read aloud t entertain them selves. This is because television and radio were not invented yet. Sherlock Holmes and authors such as Charles Dickens solved crimes and wrote books during this era. It can also e argued That much of the success of short stories was because of poverty and people could not afford other forms of entertainment. Short stories were very cheap and from 1850-1900 they were the most common sort of stories because of the mysterious content. ...read more.


E.g. the Signalman, A Christmas Carol etc.) Ambrose Bierce was born in Ohio in 1842 and also came from a very poor background. He fought in the American Civil war and soon became an officer. He had a very unhappy personal life and so his stories are often bitter and horrific. 'An Arrest' is a typical Bierce story, with his type of approach. Both of these authors play on the society's fascination with mystery in the nineteenth century. 'The Signalman' is about a lonely signalman who sees an apparition. This intriguing and supernatural story took complete advantage of the British public as they were in the phase of mystery. ...read more.


The story starts straight away with the narrator calling down to the signalman and showing the signalman's response. To begin with, the reader does not know why the signalman should respond so strangely when he explains his disturbance by unfolding the happenings, making the scientific explanations less and less simple until it cannot be explained at all. The reader suspects a supernatural agent but the fact that the tale is set on the railway only in the relatively modern 1860s. Rather than in a stereo type expected scene for such happenings (such as a mouldy old shack) makes people expect less of a ghost story. As the story comes to an end with the death of the signalman reported, supernatural atmosphere suspense is increased vastly. Points Language - Descriptive words, Don't know when somthings gona happen, an arrest ...read more.

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