2-for-1 dramatic tension, anyone?

[old post that seems to have accidentally been republished…]

I have some rewrites to do, and my aim is to up the dramatic tension. Courtesy of learned friends, all sorts of new – well, new to me, at least – theories might help me achieve this… Top of the list? Lope de Vega and Jo-ha-kyū.

Tell the truth, I know nothing about de Vega other than he wrote a load of plays and a [rhyming!] how-to guide for playwrights, in C16 Spain. Of course I don’t read ancient Spanish, rhyming or not. So that’s him out of the way.

Jo-ha-kyū I like the sound of, although I may well be pronouncing it wrong. The Wikipedia entry for Jo-ha-kyū is convincing as long as the page stays open, but I keep needing to look it up again to try and remember what it means. I think ti’s about each little bit of the whole (each chapter or scene?)  having its own ‘beginning-middle-and-endness’. More or less.

My learned friends make a few more specific suggestions, some useful and some not. The worst, or at least the most annoying, suggestion I have been offered: ‘You see this section just before the end? Well, start here instead and write something completely different, preferably a thriller.’

Hokkay. Guess it’s time I just got on with the work…