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Repetition of a same action/dialogue topic, creates a more intense reaction in the reader when done with repetition (but use caution!). Think about it this way:

1st time - you draw the readers' attention to the topic/action

2nd time - readers can now see that the action/topic is important. They may not know why, but they get a sense that it might foreshadow a future event.

3rd time - think of this as the most intense visit of the action/topic. This is when everything comes to a climax and readers are biting their nails.

NOTE: Avoid excessive repetition.


Now, the question was essentially: What does this look like in application?

This is a hard question to answer, as I could easily draw on some FFs...and ruin them for people who haven't read them. Instead, I'll list some plot twists and how one might use repetition to build suspense leading up to them.

Plot Twist: She's a stripper.

1st time: She can't do anything in the evening

2nd time: Again, she turns down Michael for an evening date, yet seems to want to see him. Gives him a crappy excuse.

3rd time: He either goes to the club, calls her and hears the music/chatter in the background, hears word, or finds an article of her stage wear.


Plot Twist: Michael is a vampire.

1st time: He is never to be found during the day

2nd time: He gets anxious when the OG suggests an early breakfast after a long night of dancing. He keeps glancing at the sky.

3rd time: She gives him an ultimatum, he freaks out as the sun starts to go up, or he gets sick from the sun so she takes him back to his place...and all is revealed.


Plot Twist: Michael is using drugs.

1st time: He has trouble waking up in the morning

2nd time: He is feeling under the weather, so he flies in a doctor

3rd time: While rehearsing for the VMAs, he collapses and the OG finds out when she visits him in the hospital.


Plot Twist: The OG is going to disappear.

1st time: She starts being less lovey-dovey

2nd time: She doesn't engage in a routine thoughtful gesture, like she normally does

3rd time: He calls her phone and it's been disconnected.


Chapter End Notes:

I hope this helps clarify how this might appear!


Side note: does it bug anyone else that MJF has misspelled "suspense"?

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