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4 Posts tagged with the thriller tag

I dabble in the thriller genre under a pen name. I'm still learning my way, but I am having a blast diving into the tension-filled moments and dangerous scenarios. Before I tried my hand at writing a thriller, I was a fan. From my perspective, I see the genre divided into two segments that I call "expert thrillers" and "average Joe thrillers." Granted, there are sub-genres that include military thrillers, crime thrillers, science fiction thrillers, etc. That's not what I'm referring to when I talk about there being two segments. I base my observation on the type of protagonist at the center of the thriller.


In the first type, the "expert thriller," protagonists possess skills and knowledge that make them the perfect people to navigate the twist and turns of a story. The characters are usually in law enforcement, ex-military, or spies. They dish out as much pain as they endure. Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan novels are a good example of this type of thriller.


In the second type, the "average Joe thriller," the protagonist isn't suited to face the danger at all. Usually the character is in the wrong place at the wrong time and is forced into a fight-or-flight situation. The example that comes to mind here is one of my favorite movies, North by Northwest. In the movie, advertising executive Roger Thornhill has only his will to survive to outwit the assassins out to kill him.


I see the merits in both segments, but the type of thrillers I tend to write are average Joe thrillers. I don't have the background to approach the story from the expert's perspective. How about you thriller writers reading this blog post? What type do you write?


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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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A Satisfactory Ending

Avoid Gratuitous Material

2,138 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, thriller, genre

Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice, and opinions from around the virtual globe.




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Why You Should Never Care about Getting Rejected from Any Film Festival & How to Increase Your Odds of Getting In - Noam Kroll

You may be submitting your film to the wrong type of film festivals.




Vocal Scooping - How to Get This Style Trick Right - Judy Rodman

Sometimes when you can't reach a note you'll scoop your vocals to get there.


How to Successfully Run a Start-up Business Enterprise - CWG Magazine

Because you're not just a musician, you're an entrepreneur, too. 


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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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Weekly News Roundup- July 3, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- June 27, 2014

3,216 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: filmmaking, movies, writers, independent_publishing, thriller, suspense, business_plan, film_festival, musicians, filmmakers, vocals, traditional_publishing, film_investing

So, you're feeling pretty good about yourself. You've toiled and sacrificed to finish your latest manuscript. Finally, you type "The End" and celebrate the completion of your new thriller. But there's one small problem: you didn't write a thriller, you wrote a suspense novel. Hold on, it's not a suspense novel either. It's a mystery.

Confused? You're not alone. The lines between these three genres are so fine they're hard to see. In most cases, there is a blending of two or all three genres in the same book. Typical readers themselves would be hard-pressed to correctly identify which category a book falls under. They may be reading a suspense novel they absolutely love, but still refer to it as a thriller.

Incorrectly identifying your book's genre won't necessarily destroy your chances of attracting the average reader, but it could keep your book from being discovered by the knowledgeable, dedicated fans of any one of the three genres. And it's those fans who are most likely to spread the word about your book to like-minded followers on social media sites and message boards.

To help you decide where your book fits, here are the three genres and how they are generally described:

  1. Mystery - The central theme of your book focuses on an unanswered question that drives the story. The conclusion of a mystery results in a definitive answer to the question. Technically, a mystery does not require action or an element of danger.
  2. Thriller - The central theme may seem to be mystery in nature, but in actuality, a thriller is driven by action. The conclusion comes after a usually violent confrontation between opposing factions. If an unanswered question was a spark that ignited the story, it is quite possible to end the book with an ambiguous answer to the question.
  3. Suspense - The potential for impending doom is the key to a suspense story. The readers may know who the bad guy is and what he's cable of, and they may know the traps and pitfalls he's arranged for the protagonist. What they don't know is how the protagonist will avoid falling prey to the danger.

As I said, many of the books that fall under one of these categories may overlap and fall within the other categories, as well. However, there is normally one primary genre that best suits a book. What you have to ask yourself as an indie author is what drives the story: an answered question, action, or danger?

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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The Author Pitch

Brand Audience vs. Book Audience

1,705 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: author, author, writers, writers, mystery, mystery, thriller, thriller, promotions, promotions, suspense, suspense, genre, genre

"What are fears but voices airy?
Whispering harm where harm is not.
And deluding the unwary
Till the fatal bolt is shot!"

- Wordsworth


There is one thing that the written word will always have over any other form of entertainment: its ability to stimulate the imagination. And nothing stimulates the creative mind more than fear. While movies can keep you on the edge of your seat, your imagination will always do your vision one better. Anyone who has tried to write frightening fiction will agree that one of the hardest parts of horror is creating and maintaining the feeling of suspense without giving too much away, all while keeping the reader interested and informed.


One of the leaders of suspenseful horror writing was not, in fact, known for his novels but for his radio programs. In 1936, Arch Oboler took over NBC's "Light's Out" radio program. One of Oboler's greatest talents was bringing the listener immediately into the story. Before every "Light's Out" program - which appropriately aired at midnight - he would remind his audience that "These 'Light's Out' stories are definitely not for the timid soul. So we tell you calmly and very sincerely, if you frighten easily, turn off your radio now."


And then the story began. Not in gradual steps but with a bang. One instant you're thinking to yourself, "Ha! How silly of them to think I would frighten easily," and the next you have a white-knuckle clench on your blanket or armchair.


In 1962, Oboler released an album called "Drop Dead! An Exercise in Horror" in which he wrote seven different types of horror stories: movie, suspense, radio, comedy, T.V., science fiction, and something he called "the ultimate." Each story latched onto some quality that made their particular genre popular. With "movie," he drew from the popularity of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, astonishing the audience with the shocking horror of a man who lives in a basement and eats only the contents of rusted metal boxes kept on shelves throughout his room. With "radio," he depended on the listener's imagination to fill in the details of a creeping darkness which consumed whoever came near it. And as for "the ultimate"? You'll have to listen to find out. What about you? Have you ever tried your hand at horror? Consider giving it a go with the following exercise.


Exercise: You can't scare me...


One of the most difficult yet effective aspects of writing horror for radio was the fact that it had to tell a richly detailed story in about 20 minutes. This meant that the script immediately dropped the audience into the heart of the tale, built suspense, and slammed to a shocking conclusion in a very short period of time. For this exercise, use what you've learned from books, movies, and even radio to start one of Oboler's seven types of horror stories. Remember that words are precious, and each sentence should quickly and succinctly get your point across. In the length of a paragraph, your readers should already feel sweat on their palms and a rapid quickening of their pulse.


1) Movie (visual, graphic horror)

2) Suspense (mysterious stimulation of the senses with no immediately visible antagonist)

3) Radio (your readers can't see it, so it could be anything)

4) Comedy (a little over the top - scary, but funny due to excess)

5) T.V. (using established characters a la The Twilight Zone)

6) Science Fiction (the horrors of the unknown in space)

7) The Ultimate (what's the scariest story you can imagine?)


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Kristin is a content media coordinator with CreateSpace. She draws from a strong background in journalism and creative writing to help authors hone their skills and flex their artistic muscles.


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WordPlay: A Raisin to Write

WordPlay: Universal Language

2,167 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, writers, writers, horror, horror, writing, writing, thriller, thriller, suspense, suspense, creativity, creativity, craft, craft, halloween, halloween, wordplay, wordplay