With the advent of Tivo and similar services, fewer of us watch television commercials, but when we do it’s because we’re drawn in by our desire to find out what happens next. That desire is the essence of creating suspense and it’s vital to effective marketing.The sense of anticipation is what draws us to movies, television, books, and on and on and on. Too often, businesses neglect this (look no further than any Steve Jobs’ product launch announcement to see a master at work), but one place to start is by revving up your marketing materials by adding suspense. It’s easier than you might think.
Regardless of what you’re writing you can add a dash of suspense by controlling the length of your sentences. Specifically, ditch the long sentences in favor of building rhythm with short, tight sentences in sequence (think about the music from the shower scene in “Psycho” or the shark music in “Jaws”).
For an example of creating suspense with short sentences, look to Roy Peter Clark, a master of the writing craft, who offers up a brilliant case-in-point from a newspaper sportswriter.