July 26th, 2016

Me typing?

Writing Excuses 11.30: Elemental Thriller Q&A

Writing Excuses 11.30: Elemental Thriller Q&A

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2016/07/24/11-30-elemental-thriller-qa/

Q&A Summary
Q: How do I build tension consistently through my story? As opposed to having little batches of it here and there?
A: Shorten sequel time, or overlap it with another piece of action. Raise stakes consistently. Set the stakes in the beginning, then just remind us of them.
Q: What are some disadvantages of thriller pacing?
A: Fatigue. May have ramped up the tension so high that character moments are difficult. Beware not having a payoff for the level of tension you've created.
Q: What are advantages of a thriller? Why would you write on, or inject it?
A: Keep the reader reading! Draw the reader deeper into the story.
Q: How do you keep tension in dialogue and beats, movement beats, instead of just having things explode all the time?
A: Keep your dialogue snappy. Raise the stakes behind the dialogue.
Q: When don't you use a cliffhanger?
A: When you don't have a good payoff. There are different kinds of cliffhangers, surprise and wonder, or what's coming next.
Q: When you write a scene from a thriller, do you ever imagine how it would play out in a movie?
A: Yes.
Q: How much thriller is too much before it changes your genre?
A: Which part is set dressing, and which is elemental genre (emotion)? What promises do you want to make to your reader? What excites you? If the thrill overpowers the other emotion you were trying to evoke, then you've used too much.
Q: What do you do when the tension in your story has peaked too early? How do I escape from the thrill I have inadvertently created?
A: Revision. Take your stakes, spread them out. Do a beat chart and see what you need to do. Consider adding a subplot.
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[Howard] Yep. We are about halfway through our year of elemental genre. So what we want to do is start putting these things together, using thriller as well, in this case, kind of as a pacing element. I talked about a beat chart earlier. Sit down with your manuscript or with your outline, and in the margins, write at each point what the emotion is that you are trying to evoke from the reader. Are you trying to evoke anxiety? Are you trying to evoke joy? Are you trying to evoke laughter? Is it action, is it wonder? Make these visible notes, underlined. Then sit back and look at the manuscript and see where the spaces are. See where things are really close together. The conclusion here is you're going to learn something about your manuscript. I don't know what it is.
[Chuckles]
[Brandon] But it should be exciting and thrilling. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.