Here is a series of writing prompts that I used when my class was working on suspense writing. These aren't meant to replace their story but rather jump start their creative juices. I would use the one below for confident writers. As the prompts progressed, students loved sharing what they had written and demonstrating how they had used rich vocab.
He (or she) thought she heard someone in the house.
a) where was he/she in the house?
b) what was the disturbing sound he/she heard?
c) what was he/she thinking? What question could be going through his/her mind?
d) was anything out of the ordinary in the house?
e) did the character smell anything? Did it remind him/her of anything?
f) connect that memory to the present moment.
g) raise another question in the character's mind.
h) what does the character really want to do right now but can't?
i) Why is he/she afraid?
j) Have the character take some kind of action.
k) Put an obstacle in his/her path; make him retreat.
l) Give him/her the courage to return and try again.
m) Have the character discover what's really going on.
Here's a much shorter one I tried with younger writers. It could easily have been made longer.
Once upon a time I was _______________________________________________ and I heard ________________________________________.
The noise made me feel ________________________________. I think it was ____________________________________________________.
I quickly ________________________________________________________________________________. All of a sudden __________________