Picture the following?
1. With two minutes left in the game, will the star player make the winning goal?
2. The big announcement: Will he get the promotion?
3. The hero leans in to the woman: Will they kiss?
The expectations set up lead the reader, making sure they turn the page to find out the answer. Without tension, the story falls flat and you risk the reader losing interest. They won't care what happens next.
Any time you can up the tension, you raise the reading pleasure for your audience. The above scenarios paint a tense picture, but by inserting a little subtext you can make the reader's heart beat a little faster.
Read the above scenarios with the following information in mind.
1. The star player suffered an injury and he didn't tell the coach.
2. The person up for promotion needs the money for a life saving operation.
3. The woman is already married. Or the hero is.
See how a little information colored your perceptions? Tension can be overt or subtle, but is necessary for a good story.
For each of your scenes, ask yourself, what information you could add to increase the tension in a scene.
Questions? Comments? I'd love to hear from you. You may comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org