Sunday, 11 January 2015


"Society bristles with enigmas which look hard to solve. It is a perfect maze of intrigue."
Honore de Balzac

Intrigue - I just love this word.
It conjures up a misty twilight kind of world for me as I associate it with mystery and skulduggery. Almost a Sherlock Holmes kind of world in my mind… 

Maybe that is why I tend to think of it as a kind of old fashioned word which is rather less used nowadays. It suggests a halfway stage between outright puzzling questions and curious, rather vague, passing fascination with something or other.
When I looked ‘intrigue’ up in the dictionary, I found it can in fact, mean a puzzle or questionable scheme. But interestingly it can also mean conspiracy, double dealing, trickery and even, of course an affair.
n writing romantic thrillers it is unquestionably the raising of interesting questions and mini puzzles of the ‘will he/won’t he succeed’ variety that make up the entire plot of an edge of your seat thriller and a romantic read to boot. In other words the story must intrigue the reader from start to finish and that intrigue should rise to full on tension as the conflicts escalate and the hero get’s into worse and worse trouble.
So when I write my novels, I start with some intriguing questions (enough to pique reader interest, I hope) and pose some attention-grabbing dilemmas but then things get rough!

A good dollop of skulduggery helps as does some trickery on the part of the villain. Together with a spoonful of double dealing and a large splash of romance you have the recipe for a darned good roller coaster read.
Do you use intriguing questions to pique the readers interest at the start of a book?


  1. I do not start books off this way, although I do incorporate such questions as the story progresses. Utilitarianism is one such ethical concern, and when is it right to break the law or allow something bad to happen to a smaller group in order to better protect a much larger group of people.

  2. I love the word 'intrigue', too. And I love writing it!

  3. Thanks for your comments guys! Much appreciated.

  4. Hi Pat, It's been a long time. This is a nice post. I don't use questions at the beginning of my books, but I do incorporate them into the characters. I sometimes think if the reader hadn't thought of something, a question my character asks might further intrigue them to read on.

    I wasn't able to put my new blog location -

  5. Thanks for your comment Denise - and yes it has been a while! Had to relocate and other stuff so writing went on the back burner for a while... But - I'm back... Nice to re-establish contact.