Do You Know Your Audience? Pt. 12

Sheenah Archive, Writing Advice 1 Comment

The last post I was discussed was everything to do about horror. So it seems appropriate to discuss:


Alfred HitchcockThriller, suspense, action, horror, and mystery are a bunch of genres that like to be lumped together. Or they overlap. A lot. Movie buffs hail Alfred Hitchcock as the King of Thrillers and there’s a good reason for it. He put thrillers on the map. Film-wise, anyway. When it comes to literature, people look to Robert Louis Stevenson’s work.

Thriller, if done correctly, shouldn’t be labeled by itself. I just don’t feel like there’s a piece of good work out there that qualifies as just thriller. Like horror, thriller is one of those genres that latches onto an emotion. It makes you feel and tends to put you on the edge of your seat. It’s fast-paced, often high action, and makes you feel a rush of emotions, whether you’re aware of it or not.

Suspense, on the other hand, tends to be a bit slower, making you beg for more and “what happens next?!”

According to Wikipedia:

Homer’s Odyssey is one of the oldest stories in the Western world and is regarded as an early prototype of the thriller.

Yes, it’s a long epic poem, but if you stop and analyze it, you’ll see the thriller aspects. Monsters, storms, and women are sprinkled throughout the poem to prevent poor Odysseus from returning home. Will he ever make it home? Will his wife be forced to wed another? With the constant amount of action and battle, the poem moves along at a rather fast pace.

The hero of a thriller is often an ordinary person, allowing for easy audience sympathy, although sometimes the hero is a person with specialized training, such as a detective or spy. […] A main character who is outnumbered, outgunned, and unsure whom to trust experiences the sense of desperation that is a key element in the thriller genre. Serial dramas often employ cliffhangers, in which a chapter or episode will end with a character trapped or otherwise in jeopardy, with no apparent hope of escape.

Most thrillers nowadays tend to be about spies, detectives, cops, or some sort of government branch like the FBI or CIA. But you could write a thriller about a regular person if you wanted to. A movie that comes to mind that features an average person would be the thriller comedy Hit and Run. It’s Rated-R (there’s a scene with nude guys, not for you kids!) but if you can watch it, do. I caught it on Netflix.

Speaking of thriller, I have to end with this video even though it probably leans a bit more toward horror than thriller. Enjoy! 😀

Catch up on the latest “Audience” series and see what’s upcoming!

Comments 1

  1. Pingback: Do You Know Your Audience? Pt. 1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *