Thursday, March 14, 2013

What makes a good suspense novel?

I know I am wrongly phrasing this, but to me, a mystery is eating dinner with someone you don't know. You have to spend time with them to learn about their tendency to steal small dishes from restaurants.
So a mystery has a lot of elements to it.

And to rephrase someone else's thought: a suspense is when you discover a bag under the table where you are eating and a  thriller is discovering that the bomb inside the bag is ticking.

So what makes a good suspense?

Characters that we care about mostly. We have to invest in the story people and the life they are struggling with before the suspenseful things that happen to them make us sit up and notice. A good example would be the character of Daniel Silva's stories, Gabriel Allon. He is a master art restorer, and an assassin. Good combo, huh?

 Secondly, I would have to say the events in the story. I love a good action suspense where everything is moving toward a deadly and urgent conclusion.

"The grip on my neck intensified, cutting off some of the blood flow to my brain. The vampire spoke.".... from Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia

What do think, Murderers? Would you say suspense is the bag, or the bomb?

1 comment:

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

One of these days I might figure out the difference between mystery and mystery/suspense and mystery/thriller and suspense/thriller categories, Kim! I know what I think they are, but in all the award contests they lump them together in lots of different combinations. Thanks for discussing this today!