Do you think it’s possible for stories to have too much suspense?

So many stories these days are so loaded with suspense that it can be a little fatiguing. I think it actually has the opposite of the intended effect on me. When I get to the end of yet another cliffhanger chapter ending, instead of avidly turning the page, I can get to the point where I simply sigh and put the book down.

I guess this is a big reason I don’t like a lot of pulse-pounding urban fantasy. I need the characters to be able to take a little breather every now and then and indulge in a little character development. There has to be a careful balance.

The same goes for books that are just dripping in angst. So much bad stuff happens that I just need something–a small thing–to happen that is actually funny. I think it can really help. We have all this tension building, and I think a little moment of humor helps loosen up that tension just a little bit so the author can build it back up again. Moviemakers do this a lot. We have Bruce Willis, pulling glass out of his feet looking like a bloody wreck, yet the insults and wisecracks to Alan Rickman’s character never stops.

No story in particular inspired this post, but one story that did do a good job of breaking up the suspense was In Enemy Hands by K. S. Augustin. It has some erotic elements, but I found it extremely compelling and difficult to put down.