PDA

View Full Version : I Don't Like Tension



DwayneA
01-06-2010, 10:21 PM
Tension may be very important in a story, but I'm not very comfortable with tension. I know this sounds embarrassing, but I get very nervous when tension is building. I'm afraid of what happens next in certain situations, I don't like suspense.

In fact, sometimes when I'm watching a show or a movie with a suspenseful moment, I'll either change the channel and change it back later or fast-forward it depending on whether I'm watching tv or a movie. And if several other people are watching the show, I'll leave the room and come back much later.

I also don't like tension between people, such as when they argue or when someone gets mad at another person. Why can't we all just get along? Maybe it's just me, but that's just how my brain works.

Frankly, I just don't like tension. I've never been comfortable with it. Is this normal? What's my problem?

Shadow_Ferret
01-06-2010, 10:29 PM
Normal? I have no idea. My youngest son is like that. We can't watch anything suspenseful or overly exciting with him around. When he was 6 we tried watching the Incredibles and he got so overwrought, "What's happening?! What's happening?!" that we had to turn it off.

The Lady
01-06-2010, 10:36 PM
I'm a bit like that. I'll often read the first couple of chapters of a book, then the last few, just so as I know how it all turns out, and then settle back to read and enjoy the book without being stressed out and tense about everything. :)
I also have an eight year old niece who refuses to watch any kind of sad scene in a film. Fair play to her I say.

Kitty Pryde
01-06-2010, 10:45 PM
I can be the same way. Some shows I like to watch put me uncomfortably on edge. "Breaking Bad" is the worst one for me, I think because it's very realistic, as opposed to a shinier faker looking show with pretty people like Fringe Grey's Anatomy or something.

And I also HATE tension between people or between me and another person. I think for me it comes from being socially inept and picked on as a little kid (which I think is something we have in common, DwayneA?).

I had a real problem putting tension and conflict in my stories at first for this reason, I think. But I realized that tension was a necessity, because without tension you can't have the relief of tension, which is the really satisfying part of books :)

Jamesaritchie
01-06-2010, 10:55 PM
It's normal. Fortunately, you don't have to like tension to be a good writer. You just have to use it.

The Otter
01-06-2010, 10:56 PM
What you like is what you like. I wouldn't worry about whether it's "normal." Tension is probably the easiest way to hook most readers/viewers, but that doesn't mean it's the only way. My dad is the same way to a degree; he won't watch shows where there's a lot of "human drama" (people getting mad at each other, having arguments, being overly emotional, et cetera) because it stresses him out in the same way real-life "human drama" does.

Another way to hook a reader is by engaging their intellectual curiosity, teasing them with unanswered questions, or just showing them something new that they've never experienced before. That's still "tension" in a sense, but not the kind you're talking about.

Shadow_Ferret
01-06-2010, 10:59 PM
My dad is the same way to a degree; he won't watch shows where there's a lot of "human drama" (people getting mad at each other, having arguments, being overly emotional, et cetera) because it stresses him out in the same way real-life "human drama" does.


I'm the same way, which is why I don't watch "reality" shows, too much yelling and anger and back stabbing.

Dave.C.Robinson
01-06-2010, 10:59 PM
What I have difficulty with on TV (and in movies) is tension based on embarrassment. I can't watch most sitcoms because they induce massive tension in me - especially when the problem was caused by someone doing something anyone with half a brain would have known was idiotic.

Phaeal
01-06-2010, 11:07 PM
As I told the person who worried, in all sincerity, whether Picard could qualify for the US Space Program (wasn't he too old?):

It's just a SHOW.*

;)

Or a novel, or a short story, as the case may be. You, the creator, are God -- you can look down on all the tension and mayhem from your celestial hot tub, celestial Margarita in hand.


* This was so sweet, because she was always telling me and my fellow cosplayers the same thing. That is, before she started dating an engineer and, chameleon that she was, began pretending she loved SFF. Sometimes the Universe hands you a perfect opportunity for revenge.

Kitty Pryde
01-06-2010, 11:10 PM
What I have difficulty with on TV (and in movies) is tension based on embarrassment. I can't watch most sitcoms because they induce massive tension in me - especially when the problem was caused by someone doing something anyone with half a brain would have known was idiotic.

Have you seen "Meet the Parents"? I cringed so much during that movie that I gave myself a backache :D

Sarah Christine
01-06-2010, 11:12 PM
What I have difficulty with on TV (and in movies) is tension based on embarrassment. I can't watch most sitcoms because they induce massive tension in me - especially when the problem was caused by someone doing something anyone with half a brain would have known was idiotic.

This. I can't stand embarrassing moments, especially when it's extremely predictable and you're sitting there going, "Don't do it....DON'T--oh for the love of God."

Anyone ever seen Degrassi? Drives me crazy.

Phaeal
01-06-2010, 11:19 PM
What I have difficulty with on TV (and in movies) is tension based on embarrassment. I can't watch most sitcoms because they induce massive tension in me - especially when the problem was caused by someone doing something anyone with half a brain would have known was idiotic.

OMG. Never watch the English original of THE OFFICE. This is the brilliant epitome of squirmworthy-moment humor.

(I loves it, 'cause I likes watching people squirm. ;) )

virtue_summer
01-06-2010, 11:22 PM
I'm the oddball, apparently. In real life I hate tension. In stories? I love it. And I'm hard pressed to think of any kind of fiction I've ever read that lacked it and was successful. Really. Someone point me to a story where everyone is nice to each other all the time, everything is going good, and there's nothing sinister or bad even suggested. I sure can't think of one and I'm sorry but I do wonder why someone who can't stand the tension in stories would choose to write them, if indeed that is what you're writing. It just doesn't make sense to me.

Marian Perera
01-06-2010, 11:32 PM
I actually enjoy tense, heated interactions on the Internet. I used to belong to an online community for non-believers and we often had drive-by conversion attempts. It was fun to deal with those, and it always gave me an adrenalin jolt that was better than coffee.

CaroGirl
01-06-2010, 11:38 PM
I hate tension IRL. I always look away, leave or try to defuse it. In fiction though, bring it on. The tenser the better. I love being on the edge of my seat when I know it isn't real.

I think that might be the issue with the children who don't like tension in films. It's a function of maturity and experience, and dealing well with it comes with knowing that it's only make believe. However, even some adults don't grow into dealing well with fictive tension either, it would seem.

MrWrite
01-07-2010, 12:46 AM
OMG. Never watch the English original of THE OFFICE. This is the brilliant epitome of squirmworthy-moment humor.

(I loves it, 'cause I likes watching people squirm. ;) )

The scene where David Brent does that dance is one of the most cringe worth moments of television history. Hilarious though! :ROFL:

NicoleMD
01-07-2010, 01:03 AM
Oh, yes. I don't like suspense. The Cable Guy still really creeps me out. Tension I can deal with sparingly as a reader/viewer, but I don't have any issues with writing it.

Nicole

Phaeal
01-07-2010, 03:51 AM
I'm the oddball, apparently. In real life I hate tension. In stories? I love it.

If you're an oddball, so are all the masses who buy thrillers, suspense, horror, mysteries, SFF, romance, well, just about every genre. Not to mention the oddball masses who love reality TV and such mild gems as the Saw movies.

KiraOnWhite
01-07-2010, 04:07 AM
I get so nervous during scenes with a lot of tension that I skip to the end of the book or the chapter...which spoils things. An exception is when there are new revelations each turn instead of 'setting the mood' scenes, which are fine but personally makes me all the more impatient.

When writing scenes with tension I rush through it as well, which makes the tension moot point. Ah well, one step at a time.

kuwisdelu
01-07-2010, 05:00 AM
There are many kinds of tension.

Some can be more or less comfortable than others.

Kalyke
01-07-2010, 05:08 AM
Well, I was an abused child If you stare the wrong way at dad, you will lose a tooth. I tend to think you would be under the bed at that point. Is it normal? No. Not all the time. Writing is not about normal life. It is a very highly and elaborately schemed representation of life -- characters are under much more stress than normal people.

Matera the Mad
01-07-2010, 05:14 AM
Maybe you're the literary type. :)

megan_d
01-07-2010, 05:19 AM
I know if I'm reading a book and think a character is going to die I'll flip through later pages seeing if that character has dialogue later on. I also always face forward through the final minutes of the amazing race because I can't stand the tension.

kuwisdelu
01-07-2010, 05:20 AM
Maybe you're the literary type. :)

Really? Really?

I hope that's sarcasm I smell.

Slushie
01-16-2010, 09:36 PM
The arguing and general debauchery of reality tv isn't tension; that's comedy.