10 Reasons Why Your Mystery Novel Needs Emotional Tension

seated man worrying

As a beginning writer you want to create a good mystery with a puzzle, clues, and suspects. But to keep your reader engaged you need them to care about your characters. 

As difficult as the mystery is to solve, you need to add emotional tension so your reader empathizes with your detective. Add emotional tension to your story.

Emotional tension is an essential element in any mystery novel, and here are ten reasons why:

  1. It keeps the reader engaged: When there is emotional tension in a story, readers are more likely to become invested in the outcome. They will be rooting for the detective to succeed and will be eager to see how the mystery is ultimately resolved.
  2. It adds depth to the characters: Emotional tension can reveal the inner thoughts and motivations of the characters in a story. This can help to make them feel more real and relatable, which is especially important in a mystery novel where the detective is often the main character.
  3. It heightens the sense of danger: When the stakes are high and the detective is under pressure, it creates a sense of danger that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. This can add an element of excitement and suspense to the story.
  4. It creates conflict: Conflict is a crucial element in any story, and emotional tension can be a powerful way to create it. Whether it’s a personal conflict between the detective and an opponent or a larger conflict between the detective and the antagonist, emotional tension helps to drive the plot forward and keep the story moving.
  5. It creates tension and suspense: Emotional tension is a great way to build suspense and keep readers guessing. As the detective struggles with personal conflicts or faces opposition from external sources, the tension and uncertainty can keep readers on the edge of their seats, wondering what will happen next.
  6. It helps to make the story feel more realistic: In real life, people are often faced with difficult situations that test their emotions and resolve. By incorporating emotional tension into your mystery novel, you can make the story feel more authentic and realistic, which can help to engage readers and draw them into the story.
  7. It can add an element of surprise: When the detective is faced with unexpected challenges or unexpected reactions from opponents or antagonists, it can add an element of surprise to the story. This can keep readers on their toes and keep the mystery feeling fresh and unpredictable.
  8. It allows the detective to grow and develop: Emotional tension can be a powerful tool for character development. As the detective grapples with difficult situations and works to overcome personal conflicts, they can grow and change in meaningful ways. This can add depth and complexity to the character and make them feel more fully realized.
  9. It adds emotional depth to the story: Finally, emotional tension can add emotional depth to the story. As the detective navigates complex emotional situations and works to solve the mystery, readers can experience a range of emotions along with the character. This can make the story feel more meaningful and impactful, and can leave a lasting impression on readers.
  10. It adds resolution: Finally, emotional tension can provide a satisfying resolution to the story. When the detective is able to overcome the challenges and solve the mystery, it can be a cathartic and rewarding experience for both the character and the reader.

Emotional tension is a vital component of any mystery novel. It keeps readers engaged, adds depth to the characters, heightens the sense of danger, creates conflict, and provides resolution. So, if you want to write a gripping and satisfying mystery, be sure to include plenty of emotional tension in your story.

Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

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