For my next manuscript I plan to write a thriller, so I bought
How to Write a Damn Good Thriller: A Step-by-Step Guide for Novelists and Screenwriters by James N. Frey to study.
I thought you might be interested in James Frey’s list of what to pledge before starting your novel.
A thriller is a pulse-pounding supsense. In the US, mysteries are not considered thriller, though they share some common elements.
In a mystery, the hero has a mission to find a killer.
In a thriller, the hero has a mission to foil evil.
To write a damn good thriller, you need a killer attitude. Pledge to yourself to do the following:
Commit yourself to creating strong conflicts in every line of every scene.
- Decide you will have fresh, snappy dialogue and not a single line of conversation.
- Decide to write quickly when drafting. Fast is golden.
- Give yourself production quotas of at least a thousand words everyday, even if you have a tough day job like kissing up to bad bosses. Three or four thousand would be better.
- If your significant other complains your thriller writing is taking up too much of you time, get a new significant other.
- Commit yourself to this: You will not have any major characters that are bland and colorless. They will all be dramatic types, theatrical, driven, larger than life, clever.
- Create a step sheet for the whole novel or screenplay. You might start your first draft if you know your opening and have an idea for the climax.
- Trick the expectations of the reader and create nice surprises from time to time.
- Have your character in terrible trouble right from the beginning, and never let them get free of terrible trouble until the climax.
- Have powerful story questions operating at all times.
- End each scene or section of dramatic narrative with a bridge, a story question to carry the reader to the next one.
- Always keep brainstorming and think about what’s happening off scene.
- Make charts for the major characters that tell you what they’re doing when they’re not on scene.
- Try to be fresh. Don’t use the same old cliches.
- Be sure your prose is colorful and sensuous.
- Keep the clock ticking and the excitement mounting right to the climactic moment.