Generally, thrillers contain the following:
- The hero(ine) faces death, or destruction of their way of life or sanity, either their own or somebody else’s, sometimes by accident, sometimes because it’s their job.
- The ‘bad guys’ whether the mob, sinister government enforcers (see INCEPTIO 😉 ), amoral businesses or plain terrorists must initially be cleverer and/or stronger than the hero(ine).
- The main storyline for the hero(ine) is usually a quest that cannot be ignored or put off and centres on a mystery that must be solved.
- The hero(ine)’s point of view and motivation should be present throughout the book and focused – there is no room for wandering off-piste. Distractions can, of course, be thrown at the hero(ine)…
- All action must be possible and realistic – experiment at home with a willing partner if necessary!
- Characters must be realistic – writing an action-packed page-turning story does not excuse you from developing your characters properly in three dimensions.
- The main theme that underpins thrillers is the desire for justice.
- The hero(ine) and bad guy(s) may battle not just on a physical level, but on a mental one as well.
Anything I’ve missed out?