Warning! Spoiler alert . . . do not read further if you already know how to write great tension. Evidently, I don't. Just received a rejection letter from an agent. I know, I know. They suck. But, to be fair, she gave me an excellent rejection. Told me that 'there is just no tension'. It wasn't an awful rejection. I got some encouragement. 'You do have something here . . . you just have to really strengthen it with emotion and connections.'
That got me to thinking. I had the motion down pat. Motion is the chorography. It's what your characters are doing. Looking across a crowded room, sucking blood from an enemy. Usually it comes first. I would say it is the five senses in action. You show your characters seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, even sensing. That I could write and the reader knew what was happening in the story.
But the emotion was missing. I believe when it comes to writing the best definition for the word is 'the part of the consciousness that involves feeling; sensibility'. Emotion makes us care, feel. Here's a thought--emotion is the music in a book. What do I mean? Have you ever watched a scary movie with mute on? Try it. The movie isn't half as scary. So, if emotion is missing in a book, there isn't any tension. The reader doesn't care about the characters.
I should really thank that agent for hitting me on the head. She made me stop and think. We need motion in our stories, but to make the reader excited and enthused, there must be emotion.
In conclusion, I've got a couple questions to throw at you. Has an agent ever given you details about how to improve your writing? Did you take it? What's your strength--motion or emotion?