• Diane Callahan

Building Tension in a Scene – “The Queen’s Gambit” by Walter Tevis

In The Queen’s Gambit, author Walter Tevis knows how to put readers on the edge of their seats with high-stakes games of chess. The Netflix miniseries adaptation lifts scenes and dialogue straight off the page to portray a character-driven story that’s rife with narrative tension. In this video, I dissect the climactic game between Beth Harmon and Vasily Borgov at the Moscow Invitational—along with techniques writers can use in their own fiction. This video is the writerly cousin of my “Adding Conflict to a Scene” video. Conflict involves the question “What obstacles does the protagonist need to overcome?” Tension, on the other hand, relates to “What will be the outcome?”


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