Got Thrills?

Characters in Thriller Novels have some unique aspects. Allow me to share some of the material I use when I speak on Writing a Thriller.

Like all great fiction, characters are what differentiate your story from those with similar plot lines. Many people think of plot as the key ingredient when they think of thrillers, but characters are the ones who make us believe, who make us care, and who make us keep reading.

There are four main characters in most thrillers: the Protagonist, the Antagonist, the Love Interest, and the Sidekick. Each plays a critical role, and each has important characteristics.

The Protagonist is more than hero. He (or she) must possess special skills. He must also have accomplished something impressive in his past. Why? Because the reader needs to trust that he can overcome the odds he’s about to face. The reader needs to believe he can succeed.

Protagonists are typically between twenty-five and forty-five years old. They have defined moral problems, which drive their behavior. They have well-defined flaws and vulnerabilities that are shown early. And, they are questing. Questing to be a better person, get the girl, and save the world.

Antagonists are more than just bad guys. They must be a worthy opponent, one with a belief system the reader can believe in, no matter how evil. They think they are the good guy, and are the hero of their own story. They have positive, humanizing traits. They are also the ideal opponent for the protagonist.

The Love Interest is the person the Protagonist goes after, as part of the plot. It’s best for the protagonist to only win them over at the end of the story.

The sidekick needs to be a specialist at something that comes into play to help the protagonist succeed. Without the sidekick’s special skill, all would be lost.

Next week, I’ll be sharing the Unique Aspects of Plot in Thrillers.

I’ll be sharing this, and other good stuff, at the San Marino Library on Wednesday, April 20th, at 7PM. If you’re in the area, come on down.

April 18th, 2016

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