Showing posts from August, 2020

Putting the Thrill in Thriller Stories – Part 3

Along with the obvious things like great characters, a tight plot, carefully woven sub plots, conflicts, emotion and motivations, there are a few more aspects to help put the thrill into thriller stories. Whether readers realise it or not, all stories are about the human psyche. It’s not just a story. It’s about why people do what they do, because human behaviour lies at the heart of every story and the best thrillers capitalise on this. They bring reasoning into the story – they show us why characters behave in a certain way, they show us the motivations and emotions behind their actions, and by doing this they make their characters intriguing, interesting, clever, sinister...all the things great characters should be. Readers want to understand how a character’s mind works. It’s simple psychology. Because to understand the characters is to empathise with and care for them, and that pulls them right into the story. And with thrillers, there are all manner of human traits and b

Putting the Thrill in Thriller Stories – Part 2

To make a thriller work, it requires a lot of aspects to come together, like a tight plot, complex characters that will bring different layers to the narrative, the escalation of danger and higher stakes and dilemmas and problematic situations that create drama and tension. That’s why readers love that heightened sense of realism and the dark undercurrents that exist below the surface of the story. They love the twists and turns. They love to get involved with the story and the characters. Ultimately, they want the protagonist to win. It can’t be said enough that conflict is essential to every story. It’s the fuel that drives characters and situations. In any thriller story, conflict should escalate around pivotal situations and events, and if you’ve planned the story and plotted correctly, the conflict should happen naturally . Don’t manufacture conflict just for the sake of it. It has to evolve because of the plot and because of how the characters act and react to events and e

Putting the Thrill in Thriller Stories – Part 1

No novel is simple to write, but some genres, like crime and thrillers, have a different level of complexity that requires a lot of thought and planning to tell a complicated story, while engaging the reader and keeping them guessing what will happen next. When we think about thrillers, we imagine a fast-paced novel full of action, danger, suspense, drama, lots of conflict and all manner of plot twists. They tend to rely heavily on plot, and most of the action is driven by escalating events, right up until the final page. Thrillers are meant to thrill because, right from the start, every scene should push the story forward, it should be paced properly, the characters should be larger than life and stand out, and the stakes should be high. But before you put any thrill into a thriller, you first need a tight, well thought out plot. This is the skeletal structure that will support everything that happens within the story, and because thrillers are generally more complex in natu