Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Writing a THRILLER

Recently I decided to try my hand at writing a thriller, tentatively titled, Accountable (A Jake McCall Novel) with the tagline: One man dares to hold the guilty accountable. I have been reading numerous books on the subject in preparation and decided to share what I am learning with all of you! J

Delivering the Conventions of the Thriller Genre:
1. An inciting incident: A crime, a murder, a bank robbery has to pull us into the action and give the hero his need for action. (If it’s a horror thriller the value at stake is a fate worse than death.)

2. The crime must occur early on in the Story.

3.The crime must reveal a clue about the villain’s MacGuffin. Meaning, what is the object of desire for the villain? If the villain gets the MacGuffin he will win. Familiar MacGuffin’s are: (a) the codes to a nuclear warhead, (b) one thousand pounds of heroin, (c) microfilm. *The term comes from Alfred Hitchcock. The term means the antagonist’s literal object of desire.

4. There must be a brilliant/powerful master criminal and an equally brilliant/powerful investigator/detective/sleuth. But the balance of power is heavily in favor of the villain!

5. The villain must “make it personal” with regard to the protagonist. He may feel this way right from the beginning or come to it later, but he must want to kill/humiliate/destroy/damn the investigator. The crime must escalate and the hero become a victim. (If it’s in the horror genre of thrillers than the power can be supernatural. Think The Shinning.)

6. The story requires clues and red herrings in the telling. The protagonist follows leads, some that are blind alleys to misdirect him.

7. If your story is a crime story, it can progress from justice to unfairness to injustice to tyranny.  Your value must be driven to the limit. Heart pounding limit! It’s a universal quality. The hero must stop the villain or we are all doomed and no one wants to live in injustice and tyranny. *There can be a false ending, that there is still one more act to finally stop the villain. Just when you think it’s safe, BAM!

Wishing you all a great day!
Best regards,
January Bain / Angelina J. Windsor

Seventh Son/A Christmas Shift/The Power of Tess/ with Ellora's Cave Publishing
Forever Series with Champagne Books


Rita Bay said...

Great info, January. Thank you for sharing.

January Bain said...

Thanks Rita! I enjoy your posts as well!

Cindy said...

I totally enjoy reading thrillers. It was interesting learning about how it is put together. Thanks for sharing.