Suspense, Thriller, Crime Mystery with romantic elements Novels and Novellas
What is a crime suspense, or a thriller? The definition of a particular genre often depends on the viewpoint of a reader, as with other art forms, it is in the eye of the beholder when defining a book type. Unfortunately, whose point of view can influence the answer. Different strokes for different folks.
Someone who does not read a crime suspense, for example, might think all books in this genre would have in-depth details about a crime, therefore it could be gory or have bloody scenes. This might be true for some but it depends on the author's style.
Personally, I do not like to write bloody details in my crime scenes, I feel it is not necessary. Yes, there has been a crime committed and it might have been horrific but to relay that information I feel can be done with finesse. The crime is part of the story but the reader does not have to live it by traumatic or shocking words. One of my romantic suspense books I had a reader fan argue that even though the character had a killer stalking her, it was more about the romance than about the murders that the stalker had committed.
However, another reader would not even consider reading the book because it had the word murder in the title. She had decided before ever reading the back copy to see what the tone of the book was, she said that she was too sensitive to read about murder scenes and it would upset her.
So, do you see the problem with classifying books and that it can pigeonhole the author who has her own unique style of writing?
Let's go back to the definition of a crime suspense. A crime has been committed and how the suspense is built all depends on the style of the author. All my novels are character driven, therefore, my concentration is on the people of the book and how the crime affects them. The same is true with my thrillers. They are not what I call slasher or killer driven type. Let's exam thriller movies for examples. They basically fall into two types. There are slasher type that focus on the machete-swinging, deranged person, like the hockey mask wearing Jason. Not that these types of movies are bad, but they are not my style.
The second type of thriller movie is tension filled and heart-pounding but not bloody. Other popular thriller movies like this type are: Sixth Sense, The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, Flatliners, The Butterfly Affect, The Green Mile, and Mystic River. So the range spread for thrillers, or even suspense, can be miles apart from one another.
The difficult part of writing comes when authors must indentify their writing. But it is a necessary evil for books to be placed in bookstores so readers can go to their genre of choice.
If the author wants to branch out of their comfort zone, than identifying a genre is a tool to jump start the reading selection process for her or his fans. However, you must remember, like the old saying, "don't judge a book by its cover", genre description must not sway your choice to broaden your writing horizons. Writing in different genres gives book readers an opportunity to discover another favorite author to read.
I write in many different genres. However, I follow the concepts that Alfred Hitchcock believed in, which was less showing gives the viewer (in my case the readers) a chance to get involved in the story first-hand. This method also helps build greater tension and better suspense. Hitchcock taught not to go for the quick shock effect since it only lasts seconds but rather build tension slowly. Don't explode the bomb, show the bomb under the table, ticking and add nail-biting with a countdown clock on display.
I don't write graphic violent content, I show less blood, if any, in my crime scenes. Dead body scenes are not important, but essential to a suspense crime story. In my books, the readers connect to characters, as if they are real people, the good and bad ones. With hope you understand and like the good characters, care about the victims, and hate the bad guys, even thought at times in the story you might even understand why they are so evil. Therefore, my thrillers and romantic suspense novels are tension packed, not crime focused.
My romance usually builds slowly like a pressure cooker before it explodes with passion. Some scenes fade to black, while others give you a glimpse of what you have been waiting for, but not too raw of scenes that you need to wrap the book in a plain brown cover to read it in public.
I love ah-ha moments, not piece together puzzle mysteries so I will plant clues throughout my stories. Very often you might find yourself saying at the end of the book, I should have known that!
At the end of the day when you turn the final page, I hope you will feel as if you've found a group of friends inside my novels and will want to read more. No matter what genre the book is, you will find excitement, happiness, fear, hopes, and adventure in my stories. And isn't that why we read books? It isn't about identifying a particular category shelved in the bookstore, or what genre a book is, but about a good story. A story that you will want to talk about to your friends and share with them that you have found another favorite author.
Your author friend,
Chris Coad Taylor
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