The International Thriller Writers Organization has a new look and I am loving it! New features include Operation Thriller, a USO tour for the troops. Selected thriller authors will visit troops in combat areas and the first area for the authors to visit is Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. Registration for the Thriller Fest is now open and it is in NYC, a stone’s throw from where I live in the DC area. I may make it this year!
What I also noticed that was very new to the site are blog posts for people to answer. A select few can answer questions such as “What is the primary job of a thriller?” and “Why do you read thrillers?”. I think these are two great topics in relation to the thriller genre.
But I will ask here, what is the primary job of a thriller? Is it to experience an adventure outside of one’s boring life? Gather ideas for your own thriller novel? Entertain yourself? Figure out who the perp is? For me, it is the joy that my readers get when I send them on a wild ride of the what will happen next. It is the story structure of knowing that someone has gotten killed and a hero must find out. It is also the why that someone got killed, the how, the where and when.
I think thrillers are unique, because they involve history, science, math, culture and artistry, all in one. There are so many sub-genres of thrillers that still makes the primary job of a thriller to solve and entertain. I love thrillers from the romantic suspense novels to the detective stories to the international thrillers. I have just purchased Patricia Cornwell’s Scarpetta (Kay Scarpetta) a first look into a forensic pathologist as the key character in a thriller. This will be different for me as I do not normally read medical thrillers, but I am sure it will entertain and keep me going!
Since I am a writer, the primary job of a thriller for me is also practice. Studying the likes of those that definitely have a passion for writing is essential for any writer and reader of thriller novels. It is one thing to watch your favorite thriller TV shows or films, but, books are absorbed in one’s brain. The action and location of a thriller will forever be embedded in my brain especially if the story is set in NYC, Washington, DC, Atlanta, GA or Los Angeles, all places that I am familiar with.
Robert McKee, author of Story, said it best when he said a crime detective story “should have a crime occur and someone who is going to solve it.” It is as simple as that.