Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Just finished an excellent book by James N. Frey called How to Write a Damn Good Thriller – A Step-by-Step Guide for Novelists and Screenwriters. I highly recommend this book for anyone who’s interested in writing thrillers, romantic suspense, crime fiction, or any other kind of fiction, for that matter.
James concludes with some great advice:

“When you start constructing your thriller, it will help a great deal if you have the right attitude. […] To write a damn good thriller, you need a killer attitude. I suggest you make a pledge to yourself to do the following: [I’m reproducing some of Frey’s key points here.]

• Commit yourself to creating strong conflicts in every line of every scene.

• Decide you will have fresh, snappy dialogue and not a single line of conversation.

• Decide to write quickly when drafting. Fast is golden.

• Commit yourself to this: You will not have any major characters that are bland and colorless. They will all be dramatic types, theatrical, driven, larger than life, clever.

• Have your characters in terrible trouble right from the beginning, and never let them get free of terrible trouble until the climax.

• Have powerful story questions operating at all times.

• End each scene or section of dramatic narrative with a bridge, a story question to carry the reader to the next one.

• Keep the clock ticking and the excitement mounting right to the climactic moment.”

And the tips I left out are excellent, too! As is the advice given throughout this interesting and informative book. Now I’m going to look for How to Write a Damn Good Novel (I & II), How to Write a Damn Good Mystery, and finally, The Key – How to Write Damn Good Fiction Using the Power of Myth, all by the same author.

Thanks for your inspirational and practical tips, James! And thanks for giving me permission to pass on some of your damn good ideas to my blog followers and editing clients!

James N. Frey, http://www.jamesnfrey.com/
"The Best Damn Creative Workshops on Planet Earth"

James N. Frey is an internationally acclaimed creative writing teacher and workshop leader. Many participants of his workshops have gone on to publish with major New York houses and receive solid advances (as high as $2 million) and much critical acclaim.

Jodie Renner is a freelance editor specializing in thrillers, mysteries and other crime fiction, as well as YA, mainstream, and historical fiction. Jodie’s craft-of-fiction articles appear on 6 different blogs. For more information on Jodie's editing services, please visit her website at www.JodieRennerEditing.com.

Jodie's 4-page, 10,000-word e-booklet, Writing a Killer Thriller - An Editor's Guide to Writing Powerful Fiction, is only $0.99 for your Kindle or on PDF.

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