Reading fiction serves many purposes. It can be informative, enlightening, it can even be life-changing. But above all else, it can be fun, or as Benjamin Percy claims, thrilling. The books he has loved over the years are those that thrilled him; stories that kept him turning the pages long into the night, unable to put the book down until he discovers what happens next. Percy believes that if you know how story thrills readers, you can incorporate those same concepts into your own fiction. Thrill Me, by Benjamin Percy, aims to show writers how to lift your writing above mere mediocre prose with time-proven methods that can work for just about any genre.
Using examples from both literary and genre books and films, Percy demonstrates the principles of the thrill. He posits that there’s a bridge between literary and genre fiction, that both use some of the same concepts to heighten the prose, to keep readers turning the pages, regardless of how simple or cerebral the story is. The author of several novels (The Wildling, Red Moon, The Dark Net, The Dead Lands) and multiple comic series runs (Teen Titans, Green Arrow, Nightwing), Percy knows a thing or two about thrilling readers across several genres. Though his own writing tends to fall in the horror and speculative genres, Percy makes use of all the genres in Thrill Me, reinforcing the adage to read widely.
Covering many topics such as suspense building, creating urgency, when and how not to use backstory, using multiple story lines to create suspense, developing a ‘style’, staging your scenes, writing violence, taking advantage of your setting, using repetition in creative ways, thinking of revision as renovation, and much more, Percy writes about these subjects in conversational tone, using many examples to illustrate his points in the real world and within the realm of fiction. These essays are part of his ongoing classes he teaches, so it’s like getting a lecture from one of the best while enjoying all the comforts of home and your favorite reading chair. His writing style is thrilling, even with non-fiction, and he makes each of the subjects just as exciting as reading the examples.
Thrill Me is definitely a different kind of writing reference guide. Percy realizes most people don’t want to read writing reference guides, and over the years, those kinds of books all seem to blur together, covering the same topics over and over again. By making the journey personal, he managed to write a guide that is as energetic and engaging as the very stories we crave to read, while providing valuable insight designed to help you improve your own stories. If you need a quick kick-in-the-pants to jump start your writing, or just want to continue your writing education, this book comes highly recommended.
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