Saturday, 16 February 2013

Explosive Books - or Damp Squibs??

Hi everyone.
In todays post I'm looking at explosive story lines! Words like 'detonation', 'violent outbursts' and 'fireworks' also seem quite emotive terms but what do they actually mean in terms of story?
I have often wondered what the term ‘an explosive story’ actually meant when I've read it in a book review. Especially if the story never seems to quite live up to it's claims. So I guess it may sometimes just be a way to catch a reader’s attention. On the other hand it may mean it actually does have explosions in it!  Or it could simply mean a story is sensational. or outrageous in it's subject matter. 
But I have come to the conclusion that most people who use that word simply mean it to imply that something startling or shocking happens in a story. It could also suggest some kind of expose (especially if it is a ‘true-life’ type story).
Whatever the true meaning the term does have an ear catching ring to it and for those looking for a roller coaster thriller-type read, it meets the criteria for that kind of story.  However, it is disappointingly na├»ve to rely on these kinds of descriptions as the promise is not always delivered on.   But there again if it gets people to look at your story perhaps it is worth talking it up…
For me an ‘explosive story’ is one where the unexpected happens in a startlingly abrupt way. Sometimes, it is just such an action which turns a mundane story into an electrifying one. In other words a shocking, surprising development can make your story ‘explode into life’ and carry an impetus which will keep a reader gripped to the very end. Now that is a satisfyingly ‘explosive novel’!
So what do you think? Have you read many explosive novels?


  1. Great point! I've learned to avoid books that a review says has an 'explosive story.'

  2. I don't think I've ever read anything I'd consider explosive.


  3. I agree with your final definition of an explosive story. If one is going to use the term "explosive," it should be explosive! That implies a suddenness. And something extreme, shocking, surprising.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

  4. Seeing a story described as 'explosive' wouldn't encourage me to read it, but I can see it might appeal to others.

  5. The term 'explosive story' seems so cliche. I don't think I'd pick up a book that has that type of phrase...and I can't remember the last book that I'd say was an explosive story. Nice post.

  6. Interesting topic Pat! Although I've read many thriller novels that were described by book reviewers as having explosive this or that I can't say the inclusion of this word in the review had anything with my picking the book. I think it can be chalked up to sensationalism. It seems like the folks that write the reviews or book covers are trying their best to excite readers. It's all about being dramatic and grabbing the readers attention.