Friday, 29 November 2013

The Sticky Key

 So what exactly is the main thing – the key - to good thriller writing?

I believe it must be ‘edge of the seat’ stuff where you must turn the next page to see what happens next. Easy isn’t it? If only it were …

But there is no denying that ‘page turning quality’ is what it’s all about. The reader should be so engrossed in the story that they don’t want to put it down. The art of good story telling (and thriller writing in particular) means that the writer must use all the tools and skills of creating suspense they can muster to make sure that happens.

However rising tension and suspense is easy to say but not so easy to do and it can feel rather breathless and mind boggling if that is all there is in a story. Indeed there should be parts in a good tale where the action/tension lessens a little so that the reader can draw breath. But it should not be enough to allow the reader’s mind to start meandering or thinking about other things.

Actually, it’s the way I (personally) judge a story. As I get a little way into a book I decide whether the story is holding my attention or not, whether having started it, I even want to finish! If I begin to think about what we’re having for dinner or other mundane things I know the story is not gripping me in the way it should. Lots of passive descriptive telling passages will do that for me. I know you need some of that stuff in a story for it to hold together but it should not be the main thing – especially in a thriller.
Think of the passive bits as the glue that holds the story together. And like the best glue – a little goes a long way.

Do you use passive glue sparingly? Do you agree that too much description can make a book dull?


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall...

Mirrors have always fascinated me a little for there is often a discrepancy between what I think I am/look like and what I see in the mirror. It’s a little like hearing your own voice recorded and swearing that you don’t really sound like that – do you???

But I digress… Back to the mirrors…

I actually used mirrors as a horror element in my first full novel “Insight”. I was in the bathroom one day and looked up to see the mirror so clouded with steam that you couldn’t see anything clearly and I started imagining a creature was in the mirror. Yes, I know I do have a peculiar mindset… But anyway it gave me the idea of using a mirror for a ghostly experience. I also realised that you could write with a greasy-ish finger on a mirror and it could not be seen but as soon as it became steamed up the writing appeared. Oh, I had fun with that book! Water and mist eventually became a major motif for the story as the character had a kind of phobia about water anyway. The possibilities really opened up then as the fear went right back to her childhood and… Well you’d have to read the book to know the rest! No spoilers on here…

But it did make me realise you could take something quite mundane and turn it into something – well, a lot less mundane!

Have you ever thought of using ordinary household items and turning them into fearful phobic elements in a thriller story?

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Back to work at last!

I really must apologise for being away so long. It has been a very difficult year which has resulted in our re-location back to Uk. Finding somewhere to live, renovating and dealing with other issues has impacted my writing severely BUT... I am ready to get involved again so here goes.

This time it should be okay as I am now settled with full internet service and a some time to write!! My latest novel is half way through first draft but I've not looked at it for some time so I need to refresh by re-reading the entire MS and going through all my notes and research before I can write a word. Yikes!

I must admit it's been so long I can't remember hardly any of the plot details although the characters have stayed with me.

Has anyone else had a long break and had to read through all the stuff again before writing a single word??