Thriller Novels: Where Does the Kick Come From?

Scarcely any novel enthusiast has not read any thriller novels at all. The genre is immensely popular with readers of all ages. The best thrillers have provided gripping suspense, exhilaration, and enjoyment to readers since the first beginnings of the genre. Their scope is vast, with many sub-genres.
So, what are they?
Obviously, the novel must must engender thrills in its readers. Straightforward enough, but where are the origins of this ability? The predecessors of thriller novels originated with the writers of early civilizations such as the Greeks or Persians. For example, the Odyssey in Greek and the Mahabharata in Sanskrit were, it can be argued constructed using similar narrative mechanisms to the modern day thriller novels. Originating in the Tenth Century and later translated by Sir Richard Burton, the Arabian Nights narrates the first ever detective thriller as a tale entitled “The Three Apples”.
With this ancestry, the art has grown and contemporary ‘thrill fiction’ can be sub-divided into several genres such as the intelligence related thriller, medical, political, legal case related thriller, historical, technological, action, exploration oriented thriller, armed forces operations thriller, and romantic thriller. At least. The list is practically never ending. Thrilling the readers, that’s all it’s about, and there are so many ways. Normally, all of the genres will be creating thrills by working on several aspects of the reader’s mind: emotions, empathy with a character, impatience, uncertainty, fear, anticipation and even panic. The most able novelist will be toying with several of these areas of the reader’s mind at any one time.
The reader’s imagination, though, is definitely the most effective target area for the novelist to work on, but it is also the aspect needing the highest skill to manipulate effectively. Although each of the sub genres has its inherent dimensions, there are a few regular techniques used by novelists. For example: the disguising of significant facts from the reader until the a climactic point, the dramatic description of combat (even if only verbal). Add in foreshadowing, unexpected twists in the plot and hanging chapter ends and you have the basic devices which are deployed to work up the thrill and excitement levels.
Let’s examine a couple of sub-genres in more detail:
The espionage thriller offers a typical example of the thriller genre-type. Some specialize in the operation of intelligence gathering structures within particular countries and governments – for example the British SIS or the Chinese Guoanbu. Other genre-specialist writers focus on the technology of espionage, be they satellites or miniature cameras. The main character is often an anti-hero having a problem with her organization.
In psychological thriller novels, brain games as well as infatuations, persecutions, mental entrapment and other such themes are the most common structural devices.
So, there’s plenty of scope for writing and giving thrills to readers.

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