Tyson Adams’ Rules of Thriller Writing

One of the blogs I follow is that of Tyson Adams (where the tagline is “Putting the ‘ill back in thriller”). He’s a fellow crime/thriller writer (if you couldn’t tell by that awesome tagline) so, of course, I follow his blog. He recently posted the following list of Rules of Thriller Writing and, as I’m about to begin work on the final draft of Blood in the Paint, I thought I would have some fun with them. Enjoy!

1) If in doubt kill a character. Absolutely, the only author on Earth who’s a bigger proponent of this statement than me is George RR Martin.

2) Plot holes can be filled with dead bodies. See Item 1.

3) Nothing screams thriller more than characters screaming for their lives. Hmm, I have to admit, I don’t have a lot of characters screaming for their lives in Blood in the Paint. Oooh, wait, no. There’s at least one. Phew!

4) Car chases and shootouts are mandatory. I can’t say too much here, especially about the car chase part (mostly because it’s not really a car chase per se), but someone does shoot someone else!

5) The hero can’t die, unless you really, really want them to. No s/he can’t. At least not until the last book in the series. But you didn’t hear that from me. 😉

6) The bad-guy must die horribly, unless you want them for the sequel. Even then, the sequel could be a zombie thriller. Hmm, my bad guy, er gal, is kind of the star of the series, so she can’t die. At least not until the last book in the series. But you didn’t hear that from me. :-O

7) Beloved minor characters must die the most gruesome and pointless of deaths. Hehehehehehehehehehehe–No comment.

8) Minor bad-guys must follow the inverse ninja law. I don’t have any minor bad guys in this particular book, but I’ll be sure to remember this one. Though, I’m sure it wouldn’t have been a problem, given my pension for killing off people.

9) The only reason a gun should ever run out of bullets is if it puts the hero in even more danger. Yeah, umm, I can’t get behind this one. I’m kind of a stickler for accuracy and details and I adhere to them as closely as fiction will allow. I even have a book called The Shooter’s Bible that I keep around as a reference.

10) The rules of physics and biology do not apply to the hero, unless it puts them in even more danger. Yeah, umm, I majored in Biology, so see Item 9.

11) Deus ex machina can only be used once in the story, so use it wisely. I really hate this as a plot device. I think it’s rather lazy. Hopefully, readers won’t find anything that can be considered deus ex machina.

12) If your story hasn’t given your readers a heart attack, rewrite it so that it does. You guys better get your Bayer tablets ready…

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12 thoughts on “Tyson Adams’ Rules of Thriller Writing

  1. I love not taking things seriously, even writing.
    On 9, 10 and 11: These were pot shots at a lot of writers who don’t get the facts right. Movies are worse for this, but books also fail too often. How many times have we heard of a character snapping someone’s neck and killing them? Actually quite hard to do (the way described at least). So is the character superhuman or did someone not pay attention in biology and physics?

  2. Awesome post, I agree about the detail bit, I need to learn to research better so I don’t fall into those mistakes. That said I’m no sci-fi writer so I’ll make up some weird space thing if I need to lol 🙂

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