Thriller Chat with Chris Allen discussion

General > Made a discovery

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message 1: by Steve (new)

Steve Smy (steveksmy) | 37 comments I've made a discovery! I have an inadequate 'thriller ability'. I've tried to introduce elements of 'the thriller' in a couple of my books (one published and one a WIP), and I'm pretty sure it's not working :( I have no direct experience of the kind of action involved, relying instead on gleanings from war memoirs and other thrillers, but I'm really not sure I've got it right. Surely not every thriller writer has 'been there, done that' for real?

message 2: by Samuel (last edited Aug 25, 2013 01:11AM) (new)

Samuel  | 9 comments Absolutely Steve. All the great thriller writers who defined the genre for generations, Robert Ludlum (actor), Tom Clancy (insurance salesman) Fredrick Forsyth (Journalist) did not have military experience and yet sold millions of thrillers. Instead, they relied on good research, asking the right people for data to put into their books, Clancy went to his neighbours who were former US Navy and came up with The Hunt For Red October, Forsyth had made friends with Charles De Gaulle's bodyguards and made The Day Of The Jackal while Ludlum had friends in the CIA from his college days and came up with the Jason Bourne trilogy and numerous other works.

So you don't have to have fired a gun or gone to war to make the action in your books realistic, just do the right research (reading war memoirs is a good start by the way :) and/or find people who have had the proper experiences to go over your drafts to tell you if the action is realistic enough.

message 3: by Chris (new)

Chris Allen (intrepidallen) | 30 comments Mod
Hi guys, thanks so much for joining in. I believe a share your views that everyone's journey is very different and personal, and I absolutely agree that military service is not a prerequisite for writing action thrillers. One thing I would like to point out though is that two of the authors you've mentioned Samuel, did in fact have military experience. I believe Frederick Forsyth served as an RAF Jet fighter pilot and Robert Ludlum served as a US Marine.

message 4: by Steve (new)

Steve Smy (steveksmy) | 37 comments Thanks guys :) It's a comfort to know that my approach hasn't been entirely wrong ;) I don't really have the luxury of tracking down and interviewing the 'right people' (being housebound is a distinct disadvantage, and, sadly, mentioning it in requests to use a questionnaire is usually met with a 'yeah, right - on your bike' attitude. Whether that's the authors or their agents/publishers,I don't know. The vast majority simply never respond at all.

message 5: by Chris (new)

Chris Allen (intrepidallen) | 30 comments Mod
Steve, please let me know if I can assist. I'd be more than happy to try to connect you with the right people. Cheers, Chris

message 6: by Steve (last edited Aug 27, 2013 07:56AM) (new)

Steve Smy (steveksmy) | 37 comments Thanks Chris! If I get stuck in the realms of these matters again, I may well give you a shout ;) Cheers, Steve.

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