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?