I'm staring to really love the thriller genre. And y'know what? I think I've loved it all along and just never really realized what it was that I loved. Spy stories, check. Lots of suspense, check. Mystery, check. Danger, check. Edge-of-your seat tension, check. But to give that all a specific name - well, it just didn't "click" with me until today. (And somehow, I feel incredibly dumb for it not "clicking" with me before.)
I love thrillers. Love them. For me to really enjoy a good novel, it's got to have some type of suspense in it, some form of danger. I love Ken Follett, Clive Cussler, and Jack Higgins and I'm starting to find an awful lot more authors out there. There's some good romantic suspense that I'm delving into. In fact, I'm just hitting the tip of the iceberg. I've got an entirely new genre to read!
They always say you should write the kind of book you like to read, right?
And that brings me to my point. I think I'm going to try my hand at writing a romantic thriller. Actually, I already made that decision a long time ago when I started delving into my World War II fiction. I called it suspense for awhile - but I really think "thriller" encompasses it all. (Who knew a definition could be so important? A thriller is different than a mystery in a lot of ways.) And of course, romance is going to be thrown right in there along with the danger and intrigue.
With this new realization comes a whole other nest of responsibilities. A thriller has it's own "formula", to a certain extent. There are a few key items you need to include in your novel for it be an on-the-edge-of-your-seat read. Lots of action. A ticking time bomb, so to speak. Danger. Brian Garfield has an excellent article called the Ten Rules for Suspense Fiction that John Grisham revealed as the article that gave him the tools to create The Firm.
In a sense, I feel like I'm a newborn babe. While I enjoy these books, I do not yet know how to create them. And herein lies the conundrum. Just because I like to read these books, does that mean I can learn how to write them? Should I put forth the effort of taking the time to study the craft of suspense? Is it possible for me to learn how to create the twisting road that a thriller takes? Up until now, I've written a Regency historical with an element of suspense to it, but nothing close to what it needed to be, which is why it's sitting on my harddrive right now. My second book is an inspirational World War II novel, a far cry from a suspense. And now...now I want to delve into the thriller world. (Which brings up the whole branding issue, but I'll save that for another post.)
I feel myself starting to move toward a more mainstream feel to my books. My writing is gravitating that direction and I couldn't even begin to tell you when it happened. But when the muse starts tapping you on the shoulder and urging you to look in that shadowy corner, you've got no choice but to take at least a small peek, right?
I'd be interested to hear your thoughts...