TEKS Strand: Writing
TEKS 6.15 G: use literary devices effectively such as suspense, dialogue, and
Materials and Resources:
• Notes on suspense, dialogue, figurative language
• Writing Prompt
• Thriller lyrics/song
Lesson Introduction: After students are introduced to suspense, dialogue, and figurative
language, students should have opportunities to incorporate them into their writing. This
lesson will reinforce the students’ ability to identify these literary devices and then use
them when writing for a specific purpose.
Day 1: Introduce and/or review literary terms: suspense, dialogue, and figurative
language. (This lesson would work great in late October after you have already
introduced dialogue, simile, and metaphor.) This lesson’s primary focus is on suspense
and how authors create it in their writing. Complete the elements of suspense handout.
Day 2: Students listen to Thriller as they read the lyrics on the handout. Students are
then asked to highlight and label as many elements of suspense and figurative language
they can find in the song. Discuss and debrief.
Day 3: Students will create their own “Scary Story” or “Scary Poem” using their
knowledge of suspense and figurative language. The criteria should be as follows: the
story must be at least one page and contain at least twenty examples of suspense and
figurative language. The student should highlight all examples of the suspense elements
used. The paper should go through the entire writing process.
Day 4: Students will revise their papers and collaborate in groups.
Day 5: Conferencing and Revising
Day 6: Editing and Clocking (looking for appropriate punctuation of dialogue, and
highlighted examples of suspense elements).
Day 7: Publishing and sharing (Read Alouds)
Elements of Suspense
Authors use various methods for creating an “atmosphere” or mood in their writing.
Many authors create a mood of suspense in their writing in order to engage their readers.
One example of suspenseful writing is in the horror genre where writers create a mood of
fear and suspense using various elements. What are those elements and how and why do
they create a suspenseful atmosphere? This lesson will explore these questions in detail.
What makes a “scary story” scary?
What are elements of suspense?
Examples of elements of suspense
by Michael Jackson
It’s close to midnight
Something evil’s lurking in the dark.
Under the moonlight,
You see a sight that almost stops your heart.
You try to scream,
but terror takes the sound before you make it.
You start to freeze,
as terror looks you right between the eyes.
‘Cause this is thriller, thriller night,
and no one is going to save you from the beast about to strike.
It’s thriller, thriller night,
You’re fighting for your life inside of killer, thriller night.
You hear the door slam, and realize there is no where left to run.
You feel the cold hand, and wonder if you will ever see the sun.
You close your eyes, and hope that this is just imagination.
But all the while, you hear a creature creeping up behind,
You’re out of time.
‘Cause this is thriller, thriller night,
and there ain’t no second chance against the thing with forty eyes.
You’re fighting for your life inside a killer, thriller tonight.
Night creatures crawling, the dead start to dance in their masquerade.
There’s no escaping the jaws of the alien inside,
this is the end of your life.
They’re out to get you, demons closing in on every side.
They will possess you, unless you change that number on your dial.
Now is the time -You and I must cuddle close together.
All through the night, I’ll save you from the terror of the screen.
I’ll make you see.
Darkness falls across the land
The midnight hour is close at hand.
Creatures crawl in search of blood.
To terrorize your neighborhood.
And whosoever shall be found,
without the soul of getting down
Must stand and face the hounds of hell
and rot inside a corpse’s shell.
The foulest stench is in the air,
the funk of forty thousand years
and grizzly ghouls from every tomb,
are closing in to seal your doom.
And though you fight to stay alive,
Your body starts to shiver.
For no mere mortal can resist the evil of the thriller.