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Linda Adams
12-22-2005, 05:27 AM
International Thriller Writers, which is just about a year old, is sponsoring a "Thriller Fest" to help promote the thriller genre. This will be a reader/writer conference in Arizona Jun 29-Jul 2. If you're interested in attending, we're coming up on the deadline before the price goes up.

http://www.thrillerwriters.org/thrillerfest/

the debster
12-27-2005, 06:48 PM
Linda -

As a thriller writer, I am looking forward to the thrillerfest coming up in June. I live in Scottsdale, AZ and went to the Poisened Pen conference where the ITW was brainstormed.

While looking over the web site, it appears that this is a conference more geared for the thriller reader. Will there be any opportunities for writers such as myself hoping to make contacts?

I've contacted the organizers and they state that although no agent/editor panels will be available, some of the writer's reps will be there.

Every writer I know who has secured an agent, and made publishing deals, found their success through personal introductions to reps--primarily through writers who have introduced them to their own agent.

So my question is: During this conference, is it a no-no to approach writer's like you to read a portion of my manuscript?

Thanks, Linda.
DJL

Shadow_Ferret
12-27-2005, 08:35 PM
What exactly is a "thriller?" I'm looking at the list of "Must Read Thrillers" and I would put them all in seperate categories. "Dracula" would be horror. "Tarzan of the Apes" would be adventure. "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" would be sci-fi. "Raise the Titanic" is adventure. "From Russia with Love" is a spy novel. In fact, nearly everything on that list I'd put in a different category, such as action, adventure, horror, sci-fi, spy or cold war novels, and so on.

Linda Adams
12-28-2005, 04:03 AM
What exactly is a "thriller?" I'm looking at the list of "Must Read Thrillers" and I would put them all in seperate categories. "Dracula" would be horror. "Tarzan of the Apes" would be adventure. "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" would be sci-fi. "Raise the Titanic" is adventure. "From Russia with Love" is a spy novel. In fact, nearly everything on that list I'd put in a different category, such as action, adventure, horror, sci-fi, spy or cold war novels, and so on.

Most of those are actually subgenres of thriller. This has a list of some of the subgenres, though I've probably missed a few: http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=386898&postcount=2

And you'll find almost every one of these subgenres of Thriller in the mystery section of your bookstore--and at least one or two on every best seller list. Unlike the other genres, it's never had an official definition, and so many people are confused as to what it is. Even some of the agents don't know! I've seen an agent call it a subgenre of mystery in a magazine article, while another agent says he takes mysteries but doesn't take thrillers. Part of the problem is that it is an extremely diverse genre, which makes it hard for people to label it. If someone reads a mystery, they're likely to enjoy any of the other subgenres of mystery because they all have the same basic elements. With a thriller, a person who loves reading Romantic Thrillers is not terribly likely to enjoy reading a Techno Thriller. Each of the subgenres caters to some really, really different audiences.

Linda Adams
12-28-2005, 04:14 AM
Linda -

As a thriller writer, I am looking forward to the thrillerfest coming up in June. I live in Scottsdale, AZ and went to the Poisened Pen conference where the ITW was brainstormed.

While looking over the web site, it appears that this is a conference more geared for the thriller reader. Will there be any opportunities for writers such as myself hoping to make contacts?

I've contacted the organizers and they state that although no agent/editor panels will be available, some of the writer's reps will be there.

Every writer I know who has secured an agent, and made publishing deals, found their success through personal introductions to reps--primarily through writers who have introduced them to their own agent.

So my question is: During this conference, is it a no-no to approach writer's like you to read a portion of my manuscript?

Thanks, Linda.
DJL

You might try posting this question on the Ask the Agent board and see what Andrew Zack thinks. If I were able to go (it's too expensive, with air fare and hotels factored in), I personally wouldn't take my manuscript. I volunteered at a local conference because my manuscript wasn't ready and ran the agent pitch sessions. Every agent I chatted with asked if I was writing anything and what it was (and one did ask to see it when it was done!). Smiling and be friendly and personable goes a long, long ways.

dantem42
12-28-2005, 06:43 AM
Most of those are actually subgenres of thriller. This has a list of some of the subgenres, though I've probably missed a few: http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=386898&postcount=2



I think the term "thriller" was limited years ago strictly to politically based stuff, while "suspense" covered a lot of the rest of the crime-oriented genres. Nowadays, the term "thriller" seems to be winning out.

As to differentiating between thriller and mystery, probably the key thing is that in most mysteries, the identity of the bad guy is almost always withheld until the last few pages, and much of the action centers on the detective (and the reader) piecing together the clues to determine who he/she is. As Linda points out, much of the "action" is analytical, and often there is only one measly dead person in the entire book.

In thrillers, on the other hand, the identity of the villain may be known from the very outset, and the action often consists of the villain knocking off more people while the good guys try to track him down (often referred to as a "cat and mouse"). This is not always the case -- sometimes the identity of the villain will not be known until the end even in a thriller -- but in this case, the plot is more dependent on action than on protracted analysis (except in the case of forensic thrillers such as those of Jeffrey Deaver, where both action and analysis are essential).

If there's any commercial twist to your thinking, generally, you probably have a bigger chance hitting "blockbuster" status writing a thriller rather than a mystery. Individual mysteries tend to have smaller, though often very dedicated audiences.

Shadow_Ferret
12-28-2005, 08:24 AM
With a thriller, a person who loves reading Romantic Thrillers is not terribly likely to enjoy reading a Techno Thriller. Each of the subgenres caters to some really, really different audiences.
I think that was my point.

I guess as much as I like thrillers, I just object to the term being used so all-inclusively for so many different types of books. I understand the writers not wanting to be called "mystery" writers, but I think by them calling every book under the sun a "thriller" isn't doing them any good either.

"Tarzan of the Apes" is worlds apart from "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and probably don't encompass the same audience, yet they are both listed as "thrillers."

At that point, why not just drop "thrillers" and call them books? Strikes me as just as informative. ;)

Linda Adams
12-28-2005, 03:58 PM
I think that was my point.

At that point, why not just drop "thrillers" and call them books? Strikes me as just as informative. ;)

That, is unfortunately, what's already been done to a lot of the thrillers over the years and why it's so important now to get a genre definition in place. I've actually found a thriller writer's books in both the mystery and general fiction of the library--and they were all the same type of books. The librarian couldn't figure out how to catalog it. And how does a bookseller classify a book that is a combination of several subgenres, such as action-adventure/serial killer thriller/historical thriller? Does it go in the mainstream fiction catch all? Does it go into the mystery section? Or does it end up in the historical section even though historical readers won't like it?

And what about a writer who has always found the books they like in a particular genre section--but when they read books on how to write that genre discover that the book they like doesn't fit in with that genre? That was me, by the way. While the subgenres are diverse, all thrillers do have common elements that are unique to it.

kybudman
12-29-2005, 12:32 AM
I like your differentiation between "thriller" and "mystery", but it causes my head to spin. (And, that generally ain't a good thing!)

The industry surely doesn't seem to agree with you, as I see a huge, broad class / genre of "mystery thriller" titles out on the shelves. Some major booksellers even have this title in sections.

Of course, an enterprising young bookseller type would solve the problem simply:

"Instead of buying 5 copies, Mr. x, let me send you 8 and you can split them between the two. We will see which section shows more interest in the title, and reorder heavier for that section next order. Is that alright with you?"

{Reaching for small blue pills now}

Well, as Judy Tenuta says: "It could happen!"....

kybudman
12-29-2005, 12:36 AM
I think the term "thriller" was limited years ago strictly to politically based stuff, while "suspense" covered a lot of the rest of the crime-oriented genres. Nowadays, the term "thriller" seems to be winning out.

As to differentiating between thriller and mystery, probably the key thing is that in most mysteries, the identity of the bad guy is almost always withheld until the last few pages, and much of the action centers on the detective (and the reader) piecing together the clues to determine who he/she is. As Linda points out, much of the "action" is analytical, and often there is only one measly dead person in the entire book.

In thrillers, on the other hand, the identity of the villain may be known from the very outset, and the action often consists of the villain knocking off more people while the good guys try to track him down (often referred to as a "cat and mouse"). This is not always the case -- sometimes the identity of the villain will not be known until the end even in a thriller -- but in this case, the plot is more dependent on action than on protracted analysis (except in the case of forensic thrillers such as those of Jeffrey Deaver, where both action and analysis are essential).

If there's any commercial twist to your thinking, generally, you probably have a bigger chance hitting "blockbuster" status writing a thriller rather than a mystery. Individual mysteries tend to have smaller, though often very dedicated audiences.

Please forgive my lack of board manners. It's only been over a year. I'll be all better soon. They promised!

Axler
12-29-2005, 05:55 AM
To me, the whole muddying of the thriller/suspense/mainstream categories is kind of amusing.

It's unabashed genre stuff...complete pulp. Thirty-some years ago, most of books that are marketed as thrillers today wouldn't have been touched by the big hardcover houses. They would have appeared as mass-market paperback originals, like those published by Fawcett/Gold Medal with half-clad babes rendered by Robert McGinnis on the covers.

My observation isn't meant as a criticism...actually, I'm heartened that so much of what is being pushed as "thrillers" is pure pulp pastiche. Just more of a market for the kind of stuff I like to write!

dantem42
01-06-2006, 06:46 AM
The industry surely doesn't seem to agree with you, as I see a huge, broad class / genre of "mystery thriller" titles out on the shelves. Some major booksellers even have this title in sections.



Keep in mind that the slicing and dicing of the term "thriller" is probably more important to agents and the publishers to whom they are marketing, and doesn't mean so much at the retail market level. Decisions as to what to label the shelves are often made by clerks, and in any case often completely on the fly. More important is the ability of the writer, the agent, and the publisher to understand just what is going through the pipe. Publishers and agents have to be sensitive to what's hot and have to be speaking the same lingo when they're talking about it.

Shadow_Ferret
01-06-2006, 08:20 AM
My observation isn't meant as a criticism...actually, I'm heartened that so much of what is being pushed as "thrillers" is pure pulp pastiche. Just more of a market for the kind of stuff I like to write!

I love pure pulp pastische! I am a HUGE fan of the old pulp magazines. Those were great times for writers. Poor pay, yes, but tons of opportunities. And for the reader, just a cornucopia of fun writing, an avalanche of thrillers.