Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Suspense & Thriller: Characteristics

The suspense & thriller genre is closely related to mysteries. Therefore, it is no surprise that it carries many of the same characteristics—plots written at a fast pace and with much tension driving the story forward.

However, what sets suspense and thriller novels apart from mysteries is that the protagonist isn’t trying to figure out who the villain most of the time. Rather, the focus of the suspense or thriller is on trying to stop or survive the villain. Sometimes this will take the form of preventing a crime before it happens. Or it might deal with bringing to justice someone who has evaded the law for one reason or another. Either way, the protagonist will be on the run, unable to go to normal law enforcement agencies for one reason or another.

As a result, the protagonist’s life might be in danger. His family, his property, his career, and his reputation might be at risk. Moreover, the stakes—the potential negative repercussions of failure—are much higher: we are not simply trying to solve a murder, but stop a corrupt official from becoming president or prevent a mob takeover of a city, for example.

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