If you believe that everything constantly changes then have two ways to go with that – you can either like it or dislike it. Or maybe you can not even notice it. Or maybe you can just accept it for what it is and just get on with life. Sheesh – why is life so cOmPlicAtEd?!
Anyway – if you dislike change and seek solidity and calm then you’re probably quite boring, or maybe you’re quite upset that the world continually confounds your expectations and desires.
If, on the other hand you like all that change, then you’re probably either a go-with-the flow kind of a person, or you’re some kind of a fatalist who recognises that you are one small cog in a massive machine and so just gets on with turning, turning, turning, which pretty much amounts to that same thing as going with the flow – so ignore the second half of the last sentence, apart from this bit of course because if you ignored that bit then you would not be ignoring the important bit. Anyhow – just accept it and move on – okay?
Disliking change leads to you seeking out books that are one big blob of description, such as a 500 word novel about a drop of water. Not the bugs in the water – just the drop. Not the process of the drop dropping – just the drop. Maybe it could work in something on the deep philosophical implications of this drop in terms of how many millennia it would last in conditions of perfect homeostasis.
Liking change leads you towards liking kick-ass thrillers that start slap-bang in the middle of the most frenetic action ever and end with a lot of running about, screaming and possibly even some swearing. Maybe you even get some brief nudity in the middle – who knows. Top tip – if you want to find out if there is a little spiciness (no – not like an Indian curry, and yes – I know who you are) in a second-hand book then balance it on its spine and see where it drops open. That’s the place where the book was help open with one hand. Yeah, okay – I know – keep it clean.
So, here are a few tips on how to make your thriller kick ass:
- Problems. Every character in your book should be allotted at least one problem. It can be anything really – mental, actual, philosophical or spiritual. Hey look – an acronym (and a mnemonic to boot) – maps. So – maps out the problems for your characters before you start.
- Missions. Hand out a mission (impossible or otherwise) to each of your main people. The more difficult seeming it is to achieve, the more satisfying your reader will find it when it is achieved. Yep, nothing wrong with saving the entire universe – it’s been done so many times in literature now that when someone does it in real life it’s going to be such an anti-climax!
- Goodies. These are the people that everyone will be rooting for to save the world. Do I need to say anything else about them? Oh, okay. Well, they will have a mission and they will have problems. They will also have someone trying to stop them from achieving anything at all, which brings us to…
- Baddies. Someone also has to go up against the goodies and this is generally (okay – always) the baddies. They also have their own problems and mission. The problems will make the twisted amongst your readers root for the baddies and the mission will be something diametrically opposed to the missions of the good guys. Why? I hear you cry! Why, because that’s the kind of stories that people like to read and write. No-one likes stories about drops of water – trust me.
- Redemptions. Why are there multiple redemptions? Because one redemption has been done to death – people are bored with just one redemption. People want everyone and everything to be redeemed at multiple points in the story arc. Unfortunately, this necessitates people falling back into evil ways – again and again. Hey-ho, that’s life.
- Changes. All the way through the novel there has to be change. Goodies and baddies gave to move from despair to triumph. Missions have to go from possible to impossible. Problems have to come and go. Redemptions have to materialise and then vanish. Push has to come to shove. Light has to overcome darkness only for night to fall again. Change has to happen and you have to either create it or let it happen organically.
So, here’s how it all fits together: Initiate your goodies into a pinchy place where he (or she) has to work through a problem whilst battling baddies, dealing with problems, completing missions both big and small in order to finally reach redemption only to have it snatched from their grasp by some quirky twist of fate leading to one more round of self-doubt, deep-realisations, resurgence of energy, a desperate battle against all odds, a lull while everyone goes out for ice-cream, a surprise alien invasion, an alien eating zombie horde, a realisation that the good-guys are actually pure evil, a deep psychological rift in the mind of the reader and a realisation that there’s no way they can read another 296 words of this before bedtime – especially as they’ve got an important meeting the next day and so it’s up that little wooden hill to Bedfordshire with a nice cup of tea and the promise of a morrow filled with more bloody action, ripped heroes, buff heroines and a raging battle to save the universe. Again.
This was not edited. In fact – I didn’t even read it after I wrote it. Please send all corrections and suggestions to the usual address. Yeah – that means the Comment field, which is down there somewhere. Further – further – further – back up a bit – there!