Jude Hardin

Author, Drummer, Turtle Whisperer

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

How to Write a Thriller: Part Three

"And they're hanging their stockings!" he snarled with a sneer.
"Tomorrow is Christmas! It's practically here!"
Then he growled, with his grinch fingers nervously drumming,
"I MUST find a way to keep Christmas from coming!"
For, tomorrow, he knew...

...All the Who girls and boys
Would wake up bright and early. They'd rush for their toys!
And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!
That's one thing he hated! The NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!
Then the Whos, young and old, would sit down to a feast.
And they'd feast! And they'd feast!
And they'd FEAST! FEAST! FEAST! FEAST!
They would start on Who-pudding, and rare Who-roast-beast
Which was something the Grinch couldn't stand in the least!

And THEN
They'd do something he liked least of all!
Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,
Would stand close together, with Christmas bells ringing.
They'd stand hand-in-hand. And the Whos would start singing!
They'd sing! And they'd sing!
AND they'd SING! SING! SING! SING!

And the more the Grinch thought of the Who-Christmas-Sing
The more the Grinch thought, "I must stop this whole thing!
"Why for fifty-three years I've put up with it now!
I MUST stop Christmas from coming!
...But HOW?"


Take a tense situation and pile on the complications. Just when it seems things have gotten as bad as they possibly can for you main character, make things worse. Start the clock ticking. Make the reader worry. The consequences of the main character failing to achieve his/her goals should be severe.

Now, you might be asking yourself, "Why is Jude Hardin qualified to give anybody writing advice about anything?"

That's a legitimate question. The answer?

I'M NOT!

These are just some tidbits I've learned from reading, reading, reading, and writing, writing, writing over the past few years.

And that's the best advice of all for aspiring writers, IMHO: Read more, write more.

You can belong to umpteen critique groups, pay thousands of dollars for an MFA, and visit every writing guru on the internet every day till Kingdom Come, but you're still going to have to put the reading and writing time in if you want a chance at publication.

There are no shortcuts. None at all.

Now get busy and write the next blockbuster, 'cause I really need something good to read!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas just ain't cuttin' it.

4 Comments:

Blogger spyscribbler said...

You don't need to be a published author to know something about how to write. Even after you're published, you'll find you pretty much know the same things. You'll learn new things, but it's not like you know nothing before day 0, and the next day know everything. :-)

Besides, part of learning is regurgitating what you've learned. It helps you know it better. A lucky side effect is that it gets other people thinking and learning and discussing, too.

9:42 AM  
Blogger Erica Orloff said...

Agreed. But I would also say start a critique group, find beta readers who can give you legitimate and hard feedback, the kind you need to hear . . .

Reading and writing occur in total solitude . . . so they alone can be dangerous, too.

E

12:20 PM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Natasha:

True, although I think people generally give your opinion more weight if you're published.

4:42 PM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Erica:

Yes, it's nice to get feedback from readers you trust.

4:44 PM  

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