Have you written a thriller filled with cat-and-mouse suspense and nail-biting escapades? If so, congratulations! There’s a market for these stories. Avid fans of the thriller genre love a book that grabs them by the throat, and they might even remain loyal to an entire series based on their reaction to “Book One.”
A lot of it boils down to a heroic—but very human—protagonist and a diabolical antagonist, with a generous serving of twists and turns. We’ve seen how James Patterson, John Grisham, Stephen King and Gillian Flynn pull it off … and you can too!
Take a look at the graphic to your right. See the bullet points? They’re prompts that might just help you pen the latest, greatest thriller or mystery.
What is a Thriller Editor?
It certainly helps to have a second pair of objective eyes in your corner. In my case, I prefer to read your entire manuscript before I ever touch it. I want to see how it resonates with me as fan of the genre. Does it press buttons? Does it evoke emotion? Did I develop an emotional stake in the plot?
For instance, what chords did it strike? Was I frightened, shocked, outraged, worried? Did I care about the characters? Did I understand what made the bad guy tick? Did I root for the good guy? Did I want justice served cold (later, as a cliffhanger in a series), or hot (at satisfying moments of immediate consequences)?
Once I’ve figured out all the above, I put on my editor cap. Yes, my role is crucial, for authors gain fans by rolling out well-written and well-edited books. When you invest in a thriller editor, you’ve hired a professional who lasers in on grammar, punctuation, story arc, and chronology, but also dynamic characters and the layered and complex “who dunnit” qualities that whet your readers’ appetite.
Drop Your Readers In the Middle of the Action
Remember, few of us write just for the heck of it. The end goal is to develop “books that hook,” so use the active voice, avoid the passive voice, and season your recipe with delicious morsels of hints, clues, and foreshadowing. Add generous dollops of drama—and voila! You’ll have a book worthy of an audience.