What is the definition of suspense?

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e-martin's profile pic

e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Suspense can be defined in at least two ways. We can look at suspense as a state of mind created in the audience by a work of literature or film. We can also define suspense as a genre of literature and film.  

As a state of mind, suspense is characterized by anticipation. Suspense occurs when the audience is unsure of what will happen next in a story, when the audience is anticipating an upcoming event, or when an outcome is uncertain.

Suspense is a feeling of uncertainty and anxiety about the outcome of certain actions, most often referring to an audience's perceptions in a dramatic work.

As a genre term, suspense works are also often also known as "thrillers". The suspense, or thriller, genre can be broadly defined as consisting of works that feature suspense as a major element in the work. 

Thriller is a broad genre of literaturefilm, and televisionprogramming that uses suspense, tension and excitement as the main elements.

Some examples of the suspense genre include many of the works of Alfred Hitchcock and the novels of Michael Crichton

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soduv10 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

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Hi : )) 'Suspense' literally means, (according to the dictionary): ""A state or condition of uncertainty and excitement, with some anxiwety, as the outcome of something is unknown''.

But in Literature and other arts (like TV, cinema) its an element or tool that';s used to leave the eraders or audience waiting or hanging, in excitement, trying to figure out whats going to happen next.


mchandrea's profile pic

mchandrea | Student, College Junior | (Level 1) Salutatorian

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Suspense has different meanings depending from which aspect you would like to define it.

Thriller and suspense movies are films that showcase intense excitement, anticipation, tension, uncertainty and even anxiety. It is expected to keep the audience "on the edge".

It is defined by the dictionary as 

"a feeling or state of nervousness or excitement caused by wondering what will happen"

Suspense could also mean "mental uncertainty" or even "indecisiveness; or being doubtful"

acompanioninthetardis's profile pic

acompanioninthetardis | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Suspense is the curious yet cautious feeling you get when you know something is about to happen. for example, you feel suspense when the music dramatically increases in a horror movie. You feel suspense when you are held back from finding out the end of a book. 

Yojana_Thapa's profile pic

Yojana_Thapa | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Suspense is a  feeling of excitement that we get about what might happen. We get vigorous to know what will happen late on. For example in a novel. Author's diction can build suspense in the reader.

laurto's profile pic

laurto | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Suspense is a state or feeling of excited or anxious uncertainty about what may happen. It is a quality in a work of fiction that arouses excited expectation or uncertainty of what may happen. 

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