Thursday, July 16, 2015

Sixteen Steps To Plotting A Thriller


International bestselling thriller novelist Rick Mofina says that writing has been a livelong affliction. One of the world's leading crime writers, Rick's work is what James Patterson has termed "tense, realistic and scary in all the right places." He graciously agreed to share his 16 steps to plotting a successful thriller novel:

1. A problem befalls the protagonist that will change/threaten her/his life.

2. Define the stakes. Establish a deadline. The clock is ticking.

3. Who is your protagonist? Give readers what they need to know to empathize.

4. Who/what is your antagonist? Give readers what they need to understand or fear.

5. Action = Character. Conflict = Tension. Tension = Drama. Time is slipping by.

6. Hooks compel readers to turn pages. Otherwise, what's the point?

7. Hope emerges. A resolution is in sight. Or is it?

8. Protagonist’s credibility. Use what you know personally to build a solid frame.

9. Story plausibility. Use what you know personally to reinforce that frame.

10. Make readers feel the story, smell it, taste it, live it.

11. Dialogue and details must reveal character, drive the story.

12. The clock is ticking. Urgency is critical.

13. Things just got a whole lot worse. The reader sweats it out with the protagonist.

14. Time is up. The antagonist will triumph.

15. All hope appears to be gone but the protagonist battles on against the odds.

16. The protagonist defeats the antagonist in a life-changing resolution of the problem.

© RickMofina

(Excerpted from Mysterious Writers, Poisoned Pen Press, where you can read Rick's interview as well as 74 other authors.)

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