1. BOTH storylines have to meld together into one seamless novel.
2. BOTH storylines are equally important.
3. BOTH storylines are impossible to remove without the novel falling apart.
Plotting a suspense novel is intricate and requires planning. Not only do you need a logical timeline in which you slowly reveal the perpetrator’s identity, but you also must introduce red herrings to keep the reader guessing. It’s easier for me if I plan the suspense first.
Tip 2 – Get your couple together as early in the book as possible and keep them together
A suspense plot usually unfolds in a matter of days and weeks not months. For your hero and heroine to fall in love, they need to meet right away and they need to be together a good bit of the time. If not, falling in love won’t seem real to the reader. When choosing a suspense plot, choose something that will force them to be together often and something that they can’t simply chose to walk away from.
Show present danger to the heroine or hero. The reader, besides wanting to read a romance, also wants to know something bad could happen to the hero or heroine. They want to turn the pages and see them escape from the danger and along the way, they want to try to figure out the bad guy’s identity.
The stakes for your hero and heroine need to keep getting higher and higher with a palpable pressure building until the suspense element is resolved. Discover your characters greatest fears, then rank them and make them happen in that order until the final showdown has their greatest fear coming true.
This is a suspense novel so the characters are always in conflict with the bad guy and your tendency may be to play down the romantic conflict. But the conflict created by the plot is not enough. The romance still must hold all the same conflicts as a traditional romance would include. Your characters need internal obstacles to falling in love or the romance will be flat and uninteresting. As you plan, be sure to include down time in the suspense plot where you can showcase the romantic conflict.