Now that I have surely sufficiently deprived any of my fellow students from peeking at my answers, (for what that's worth other than my LOTR questions,
) I will torment you, Miss Jan, with this lengthy pontification.
I will go back after writing this book and read the replies beyond the first half dozen I was able to get through on Monday, so please forgive any redundancy.
I think that news headline writers are specialists in suspense. In one line or sound bite they must capture our interest to read further or tune in to the evening news. I was recently frustrated by a headline about a truck driver pulling over in front of a car who's driver was having a heart attack, and getting the car stopped so she could get help. What they never told the reader was how he knew that there was a problem requiring such bravery and risk.
1. Lord of the Rings
This trilogy is tightly strung with suspense, and these are but a few of the questions one might ask.
What has Gandalf learned about the ring that Bilbo found in The Hobbit?
Who are the dark riders, and what do they want?
Will Frodo be able to depart the Shire undetected?
Will Frodo be able to stop the willow from imprisoning his friends?
Why isn't Gandalf at the Inn like he promised? Can they trust the stranger who claims to be his messenger?
Will they find the herbs necessary to keep an injury from becoming fatal?
How can they win the race against time to reach safety with the elves?
Will they be able to escape the blizzard and the wolves?
How will they get to the other side of the mountains with the pass blocked?
Will Gandalf find the right words to open their escape route before the Watcher's tentacle pulls one of them in to the lake?
Will they all be able to escape from Moria?
Will they stay together to try and rescue the captured hobbits, or split up?
What should Frodo do about Gollum?
What will Treebeard do with the hobbits?
Will the Rohirim reach their fortress in time?
What will happen when Pippin sneaks a look at the Palantir?
What will happen when Aragorn tries to lead his company through the paths of the dead?
Do Frodo and Sam have a chance against the giant spider?
How can Sam possibly manage to rescue Frodo from Morgul Tower?
Will Pippin be able to get help in time to save Pharamir from his father's murder/suicide plot?
Will Sam and Frodo be discovered impersonating orc soldiers?
Will Frodo actually be able to relinquish the ring in to the fires of Mount Doom?
What has happened to the Shire in the hobbits' absence?
What is Miss Jan waiting for before reading this extraordinary classic?
I'm sure the other five have been well-covered by others.
It's not a well-known piece of literature, but there is this book called The Heaven Tree Trilogy, by Edith Pargeter. A nobleman's son, whose mother died in childbirth, is nursed by the stone mason's wife, and he becomes best friends with his "milk brother." What will he do when his "brother" is sentenced to severe punishment for something they both did, while he is hardly chastized? His decision spawns a lifetime of love and hate, honor and betrayal, vengence and compassion. Yes, it's nearly 900 pages, but it's worth turning every single one.
I don't think suspense is something that I focus on in my writing, (so perhaps I should work on that,) but it does turn up from time to time, even in my poetry.
Will the widow in this poem follow her culture, or her deceased husband's strange new faith.
The Greatest Sacrifice
In this story, I used anonymity to help carry the suspense. I never do actually reveal the identity of the MC/spy, and take my time in revealing the name of his target.
What will the outcome be in this trial?
The Fittest Punishment
(Hopefully not what Miss Jan would like to do to me after this assignment.)