Tension is the key to a riveting story, am I right? In today’s video, I want to share a tip that will help you craft more empowered stories while bringing up the tension. Listen in as I talk about a particular kind of tension you need to include in a memoir of any length: resistance. 

Watch the video here


In this episode on The Easy Way To Add Tension To Your Story, you’ll learn:


  • Why including resistance while writing your story is important.
  • How to use it to create tension.
  • An example of what resistance in writing looks like. 
  • Tips to recognize resistance in your story and how to include it in your writing.





Your key takeaways from ‘The Easy Way To Add Tension To Your Story’:


The idea of resistance as we tell the stories of our lives is something I picked up in a narrative therapy discussion. 

It’s the empowering notion that when something we don’t want to happen occurs we resist. There is always resistance. We often neglect to acknowledge this important part of the story when we write into difficult material.

To acknowledge our resistance is to center ourselves in our power. It also adds a layer of truth. We’re actually telling a fuller story when we include the ways that we resist. 

A few years ago I was working with a writer on a story in one of my courses that was about assault. This was a fight, flight or freeze situation, and in the moment, they froze. I carefully introduced this idea of resistance to them. 

Was there a way to show their resistance somehow verbally or nonverbally how they resisted in that moment? Perhaps even just sharing what they were thinking in the moment but unable to say?

They added one line describing their clenched fists and it added so much to the story and I think it helped them see the story a little differently too just by acknowledging that expression of resistance. I think it helped them see their own strength and resilience in that story.

Resistance may not always be obvious in a story because “freeze” is a response to danger or trauma. So this is really an invitation in your storytelling to go a little deeper than the obvious physical or verbal interactions in a moment of danger or trauma.

  • How can you describe the inner thoughts of a resistant narrator? 
  • How could you focus maybe on a detail, an object in the room, or something around you that conveys those feelings of resistance? 
  • How could you convey a narrator’s sense of resistance internally, externally or maybe even both in order to tell a fuller, more true story?

In your next story, how will you center yourself in your power by including an act of resistance?


If you found this tip helpful for your writing please leave me a note in the comments. I would love to hear from you! And be sure to tune into my next video on flipping the script on your story.