I have yet to work out why I am able to increase tension within a novel by keeping the overall timescale short.
I limited ‘In Foreign Fields’ to a short period after the Battle of Mons, August 1914. ‘In Line of Fire’ is the second book in the series and I have kept the timeline entirely within October 1914. It was a busy period, covering the siege of Antwerp and the First Battle for Ypres. Plenty to keep Wendel and DeBoise up to their eyes in active conflict.
I enjoyed reading ‘Birdsong’ but the timeline was much longer than I have used in my WW1 novels and, to my mind, that watered down the tension. I wonder if any other novelists have noticed that.
When writing my thriller, ‘Prestwick’, I kept everything within the period of a flight from New York to Scotland and that enabled me to really ratch up the tension, but that’s not a historical novel. Maybe, when I tackle another in the WW1 series, I’ll have to put Wendel and DeBoise into a situation that must be resolved in twenty four hours.