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For success, the author must make the reader care about the destiny of the principals, and sustain this anxiety, or suspense, for about 100,000 words.
No, 'F/X 2' was a job. I enjoyed doing it but that was definitely a job. I wrote that, I didn't direct it but 'Candyman' and the earlier horror movies I made, I was completely into horror and suspense and always have been. It's informed everything I've done, even the way scenes are shot in 'Kinsey and 'Gods and Monsters.'
When the reader and one narrator know something the other narrator does not, the opportunities for suspense and plot development and the shifting of reader sympathies get really interesting.
I believe that the writer should tell a story. I believe in plot. I believe in creating characters and suspense.
Ideally, I like to integrate the human issues into the suspense story itself.
I like being scared every now and then, I like the suspense and the thrills. Nothing like taking a girlfriend to a movie and holding her hand while she jumps.
I like to believe my suspense novels marry the strong characters from my romance writing past, with the twisty, clever plots of my mystery writing present.
I'm unique for a suspense author in that I don't have a specialty background. A lot of suspense writers used to be lawyers or crime beat reporters. I didn't even know a cop when I started out. I finally figured out that I could visit prisons - I just had to be willing to make the phone calls.
To answer that I have to describe what I think is my responsibility as a thriller writer: To give my readers the most exciting roller coaster ride of a suspense story I can possibly think of.
It's not just what Christian fiction lacks I appreciate - it's what it offers. The variety is vast: contemporary, historical, suspense, mysteries, adventure, young adult, romance, fantasy, science fiction.
For me, the perfect romantic suspense hero has got to be tough on the outside but tender at his core. A take-charge kind of guy who has his own inner strength and a strong sense of right and wrong - which might not dovetail with the conventional wisdom. I mean, he might bend the law if he thinks the ends justify the means.
Guys like Spielberg and Zemeckis and really anybody who is a storyteller-filmmaker today has studied Hitchcock and the way he visually tells a story. He was the master of suspense, certainly, but visually you would get a lot of information from what he would do with the camera and what he would allow you to see as the story was unfolding.
One of the things I learned as a young semiotics nerd was that if you have plot moving forward, no matter how banal the facts of it, simply the fact that the plot is rolling forward makes you wonder what's going to happen next, which creates suspense. So you can control peoples' attention simply by having things move forward in a story.
Hitchcock had a charm about him. He was very funny at times. He was incredibly brilliant in his field of suspense.
The trouble with a series as it gets older is it can feel like a tradition, and tradition is the enemy of suspense, and it's the enemy of comedy. It's the enemy of everything, really. So you have to shake it up.
In suspense novels even subplots about relationships have to have conflict.
I keep thinking I'll enjoy suspense novels, and sometimes I do. I've read about 20 Dick Francis novels.
I think one of the appeals of suspense is to safely explore our innermost fears.
Stephen King, by far, is the standard-bearer. I think anyone who writes suspense fiction and says that King isn't an influence is either lying or being foolish. I read his book 'On Writing' before I read pretty much any of his fiction.
In fiction, plenty do the job of conveying information, rousing suspense, painting characters, enabling them to speak. But only certain sentences breathe and shift about, like live matter in soil.
You have to go out of your way as a suspense novelist to find situations where the protagonists are somewhat helpless and in real danger.
When you read a supernatural suspense story or a ghost story, or a horror story, the evil at play is something that you can dismiss. And I wonder if, in this time, if people really want to be sitting on the subway reading a book about someone releasing a dirty bomb on the subway.
I like to play characters that get to do it all - to have a bit of comedy here and a bit of pathos here and a bit of suspense here, that's what's fun.
I've mis-signed many a book Rollins or Clemens. My readers quickly become aware. Booksellers will often promote me under both names, and I do plug both at signings. Generally, the fantasy reader has no problem going into the suspense genre. It's harder for the typical suspense reader to go the other direction.
I take a few pictures a week, but the best part is waiting for my film to be developed. The suspense is exciting, and the reward is great.
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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