The best thriller novels are PHAT! This acronym refers to the necessary elements of writing that make a thriller novel a success.
P Peril⎯In the best thriller novels one or more of the characters are in peril.Something is going to happen to them. Something bad, dangerous, life-changing,or fatal. It is this peril that creates suspense. It also holds the reader’s attention.
H Harrowing⎯Harrowing is defined as acutely distressing. Being in peril is definitely distressing. To write your best thriller novel, the characters should continuously find themselves in harrowing circumstances.
A Anticipatory⎯ The best thriller novels are fluent with anticipation. The reader turns the pages expecting anything. It is possible for anything to happen is the idea that the thriller novel keeps at the forefront.
T Tense⎯When a reader picks up one of the best thriller novels they immediately encounter a character in peril. Not only is the character in a bad situation, it is a harrowing experience. As the reader turns the page he or she anticipates danger at every corner. How can the reader not be tense? How can the characters not be tense? The best thriller novels keep the actions in the story at a level that inspires tension.
I repeat: the best thriller novels are PHAT.
In “A Moving Screen” the reader meets Michael on the first page. Michael is a budding
serial killer on his first kill. The story progresses, tension mounting, as Michael perfects his craft.