Friday, 21 June 2013

How to make a thriller really matter

How to make a thriller really matter.

In my humble opinion, all the steps in creating a plausible plot in thriller writing should come from the premise of an antagonist (villain) wanting one thing and a protagonist (hero) wanting the direct opposite. This creates the basic conflict that will drive the story to its final climactic end. Layered in and around this conflict may be more subplots and story lines that enrich the central story. In other words the story is multi-layered and thick with intrigue and suspense. It is this potent mixture of forces set one against the other that is the engine behind any thriller story.

The stakes in a thriller must also be very high so menace and threat are around every corner. Of course, the greatest threat (and the one many successful stories have thrived on) is world domination or a catastrophic event that threatens the entire world. For example ‘War of the Worlds’, ‘Alien’ and various James Bond’s epics. Plotting a novel like this may start fairly worryingly but then the plot should rise to epic proportions and stakes go higher and higher as more danger is piled on and more people realise the gravity of the situation and a race against time.
But it doesn’t always have to be about threats to the entire world - it may simply be threats to a main character’s nearest and dearest! And, in my opinion, the best way to raise the stakes is for the reader to strongly identify with the characters in peril and thereby worry for their safety. So the plot cannot be all about action and suspense - character development and engendering empathy is integral to the plot too. Put together it should make for one heck of a thriller…
Do you try to raise the stakes as high as possible in your stories?


  1. It's true the people down here in Texas are way friendlier than those in the north, but they're not that damn friendly. I wasn't even in his Social Zone yet, which can only mean one thing: he wants something, and that something is paper writers invariably going to take up my time and his, and we're both going to be disappointed in the end. These salespeople work paper help on commission, making them like pit bulls with their jaws clamped on your meaty calf. paper writing internet site have got quite a few good data.

  2. I don't generally write high stake type stories, but I think even the gentlest tales need some conflict to make them interesting.