Reblog: Guest Blogger: Jodie Renner: Essential Characteristics of a Thriller Hero

Jodie Renner guest post at The Writer’s Forensics, perfect for my thriller series here.

The Crime Fiction Writer's Blog




The hero or heroine of a suspense-thriller, like the protagonist of any popular bestseller, has to be impassioned, unique, and likeable enough for the reader to want to jump in and follow them through their journey, worrying about them and cheering them on through their challenges. So it’s important to take the time to create a charismatic, passionate, complex, sympathetic main character, one that readers can connect with immediately.

Heroes in novels and movies haven’t really changed a lot over the centuries since the days of Robin Hood and Maid Marion, but they continue to have universal appeal because through them, readers can vicariously participate in exciting adventures and confront and defeat evil to win the day and restore justice. Makes for a very entertaining, satisfying read. Get the adrenaline flowing with worry and fear, then triumph over adversity together, just in…

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Thrilling Structures 1: Generic Hooks for the Thriller

I’ve been playing around with the structure of my own suspense thriller novel, considering the typical hooks or starting chapters and typical climaxes also (coming up in the second post later this week).

For Hooks, here is my list so far. Like any list, any good author will try to bend or break – or add a new trope to the list, so it’s reasonably generic, and comes from my own reading in the genres. Please add any comments or suggestions, if you’re a thriller reader.

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Elements of the Psychological Thriller, Mystery, Suspense and/or Crime Fiction Genres

Last week I attempted to define some elements expected of the typical reader in a psychological thriller. Although the attempt was a good one, it left me with some problems localising the differences between what a mystery, crime fiction and thriller is.

Those thoughts were put into a large post on Mystery, Thriller and Crime fiction. In that post I realised that like a lot of writers, and a lot of experts in writing, the cross-flow between these genres provides a difficulty in localising one genre we might like our books to be catergorised into, if forced to do this on bookshelves or websites.

What came out of this, however, was a rewrite of the initial post on elements that the reader may expect. I’ve now provided a more catergorised list of elements below.  This post will be kept updated with any new ideas in the future.

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Thriller Writing Resources

The following list has been put together in respect to the new writers I am doing a thriller writing course with via the Sydney Writer’s Centre. Many of the participants are new to the genre, and equally new to writing fiction.

I also use many more resources, but these are a very good basic pack of books, websites, blogs and information for starting off writing the thriller, doing the research necessary and structuring the mystery, suspense, thriller or crime fiction novel.

Links from this post (not the books) can all be found shared on the Thriller Writers Resources bundle on my account at bitly.

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Detailed Fictional Killings or Not?

As a writer of suspense / thrillers with quite a lot of police procedurals, I was bound to come across this kind of question within myself – should I, or should I not, include details of killings such as gory scenes, or torture?

I’ve previously stated that I prefer to keep away from a lot of gory details, and I don’t actually enjoy reading some of it myself. I’m the type of person who never went to watch horror movies, and hides under the bed covers when scary foretelling “something bad is about to happen” music comes onto the television.

On the other hand, I don’t enjoy particularly cosy mysteries either, and importantly – I want to work with the reality of crimes, and their impact on victim’s family and friends also.

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Listening to some Thriller Writers (Platform Building)

Warning : this is written from my sick bed, on an iPad, without a keyboard. Need I excuse myself more? 

But  I took a look at the small list of thriller/suspense writers over at the Writers’ Platform Building Campaign and realised that I knew several of them (get me, I actually know people!) and more importantly, they have some pretty good stuff to say. 

Here they are, then – 

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