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How to Write a Damn Good Thriller: A Step-by-Step Guide for Novelist and Screenwriters    by James N. Frey Amazon.com order for
How to Write a Damn Good Thriller
by James N. Frey
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Frey's fifth book on writing spotlights the Thriller. He uses well-known films and books, to explain his points, starting with that damn good thriller, Absolute Power.

Frey begins with a simple definition of a thriller 'a clever hero on an impossible mission to foil evil' and then expounds on how to turn your germinal idea (high concept) into a novel. He also demystifies terms such as germinal idea and high concept. In this step-by-step guide, Frey use several of his own book ideas to show the reader how to create thriller-type characters, a ticking clock, high stakes, morality, and menace. He spends more than one chapter on the villain.

His process of making a Step Sheet (a type of outline) will help the writer avoid the muddle in the middle. Since you'll change your mind about many things while making the Step Sheet, Frey has a solution for that as well.

If you've read Frey's other books on writing, not all of the information will be new and in some areas his advice may seem to contradict something he's written earlier. If so, he explains why. Frey's style is easy to read and his advice is easy to understand, filled with lots of aha moments. This latest book definitely earned a place on my bookshelf along with each of his other writing books, starting with How to Write a Damn Good Novel.

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