Add ticking clock to create sense of urgency

Many science fiction and action-adventure tales give their main character a finite amount of time to solve a problem. The ever-accelerating starship has only so many minutes before its structural integrity will fail. The terrorists’ nuclear bomb will explode in so many hours. Only a few days remain before the asteroid strikes the Earth. These time limits are called “ticking clocks.”

To some degree, all stories employ a ticking clock as part of their plot. If they didn’t, the tale would careen aimlessly. Because the story must end, it must reach a breaking point, or climax, where the problem either is or isn’t solved. That climax is when the ticking clock strikes twelve.

To increase dramatic tension, the main character should recognize throughout the rising action that time is running out for him. His sense of urgency should increase as the time available to him diminishes.