PDA

View Full Version : How do you make a thriller last a whole novel without killing the pace?


Question
03-21-2011, 12:19 AM
How do you make a fast paced story last 80/90k words without killing the pace? I've heard people mention sub-plots and description, but don't they slow the whole thing down? I just don't know how it's done! Gah!

heyjude
03-21-2011, 12:35 AM
:hi: Question!

Question for you (haha): What's your favorite thriller, and why?

Jamesaritchie
03-21-2011, 01:08 AM
You keep adding thrills.

cbenoi1
03-21-2011, 01:25 AM
Micro-tension ( clicky (http://wordswimmer.blogspot.com/2009/04/beachtalk-with-donald-maass-on-creating.html) )

-cb

sheadakota
03-21-2011, 01:45 AM
A good thriller has ebbs and flows. You can have the tension racked up all the time- it just gets exhausting- To keep the pace, without losing the thrills, you have to give the reader some down time.

Give them something to worry about, then let them get to know your MC a little better- then give them something else to worry about- then throw in a few twists, a couple subplots while they are trying to figure out what is going on- let them get to know a secondary character better while involving them in another aspect of the story whil all the while the clock is ticking and something horrible is going to happen if the hero doesn;t do something!!!

And- well- that's pretty much how you do it- lol

jeseymour
03-21-2011, 03:02 AM
I'm with jude. Name some thrillers you like to read. How did they do it?

mtrenteseau
03-23-2011, 07:29 AM
I never thought I'd be writing a thriller, but that's what one of my stories has turned into.

My planned technique for maintaining suspense is to chart out the three main storylines and make sure they interact smoothly. A slow-paced part of one storyline might be occurring while the characters in another storyline are racing to the scene, or trying to figure something out at the same time.

(It's sad, but I'm looking at The Amazing Race both for what to do and what not to do.)

BKeen
03-25-2011, 01:19 AM
I read somewhere on here, "Put your MC in a tree and throw rocks at him." Throw problematic situations at the character(s) and their course of action will usually bring about the next episode of excitement. Lather, rinse, repeat. One point of caution I have with that method is keeping the action believable. Varying the degree of difficulty of problems presented throughout the plot helps with this. Also, having your MC engage in stealthy actions tends to stretch the tension. While doing something covert creates an opportunity to show the excruiating tension (s)he is under without constant explosions and gunfire.

quicklime
03-25-2011, 06:35 PM
How do you make a fast paced story last 80/90k words without killing the pace? I've heard people mention sub-plots and description, but don't they slow the whole thing down? I just don't know how it's done! Gah!


like others said, find thrillers you like and analyze them.



for mine, that WAS a problem....mc spends a fair amount of time healing in and out of a hospital and planning his kills, which is relatively boring.

On thinking about him though, there are a lot of things going on--he's hardening, becoming more distant. A personal friend is trying to reach out to him, and he's trying to keep his distance without also tipping folks off something is wrong (he's blaming his head injury for loss of memory to buy time). He's trying to avoid and evade a sheriff who has his suspicions. The guys he's after are unravelling all on their own. He needs to get a gun, and does, and in the process learns abit about what he's becoming.....

there was plenty to fill the middle, and much of it wasn't explosions and car chases. Had it been, it probably would have been more 2-dimensional for it. You want to invest in character at some point, and you can't just completely drop the thriller part and then start it back up 200 pages later, if you read the thrillers you liked, very often there is an initial conflict scene, a climax, and maybe a handful of events in the middle, but also a lot of in-between where we get to meet the character, and learn he likes sushi and cats or whatever, because he isn't so damn busy being shot at.

Sagana
03-27-2011, 09:16 AM
Thanks for the Fire in Fiction link. I picked that one up, quick-like. It looks to be very helpful.