Wednesday, 17 April 2013

O is for Occasions

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /
Used effectively, occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries or holidays can be great for upping the tension.

Occasions can be stressful times, especially when families get together. Having a bombshell dropped at a family dinner would be a whole lot more dramatic if it was meant to be a celebration of some kind. Deaths always seem more tragic at Christmas or around a birthday. Just think about the number of times Halloween has been used to ramp up the tension in horror stories. Whatever time of year your story is set in, there is bound to be a holiday of some kind, can you use this to your advantage?

Be careful though. Don't just add occasions such as birthdays or Christmas for the sake of it. If it doesn't further your plot or reveal something important about a character then leave it out, you will just bore the reader and pull them out of the story.

Have you ever used an occasion in your fiction? Let me know in the comments below, I'd love to hear from you.


  1. I love occasions: birthdays, Christmas, new year -- but I'm a non fiction writer so I write about these in a different way. Nice post though. Happy blogging!

  2. Great idea. I often forget about birthdays and holidays when writing a first draft, but I'll go back and add them later on, realizing that I missed a great opportunity. I love your reminder of using tension in those holidays. Too true.


  3. Birthdays and Christmas are always my favourite occasions. These times bring so much happiness n hope around. Nice post. :)

    -Fellow Blogger from A to Z!

  4. I haven't used occasions to build tension but I like the idea. I will have to try it sometime. There are so many emotions tied up in holidays, both good and bad. I can see how they would be a very effective tool.Simply Sarah