Fact or Fiction?

“There are two sides to every story”
“You can’t tell fact from fiction these days”
“All news is fake news”
Ah, the wonderful freedom a fiction writer has. With the lines blurred between real news and fake news – between fact and fiction – there is plenty of scope for a writer to flip between the two and build an authentic world for the reader. For example, a thriller may have elements of the real world, such as places, times and cultural events, and weave in among these a believable plot. I love thrillers that have ‘proof of life.’ That is, they lack extreme coincidences. I am not going to point any finger at a specific writer, but do remember reading a book that was full of impossibilities (two scientists are abandoned in a remote location and just happen to be rescued – you get the idea). It was a thriller by a well-known author, but the lack of authenticity prevented me from being immersed in the story. For other readers, it might have been fine (insert smiley face).

Back to the two sides to a story. When a plot juxtaposes truth and lies, it creates tension and ignites the plot. A reader can take one side, then have it destroyed when the lies become fact. You see this in TV dramas when the obvious killer is, in fact, innocent. This formula is all too clear for most of us and how disappointing it is to have someone next to you say, “I know who did it.”

For me, the challenge is to make the twist NOT obvious at all. And, I hope I achieved this in my new book. Oh dear, I don’t want to give too much away!

Plans for the day?

It’s a common question – “What are your plans for the day?” A social greeting question, and one that we almost expect. It’s the question I get asked when I sit to have my hair cut, or while talking with my children. And, it’s an ideal question to drop into casual conversation in a thriller; a sure way to put the reader at ease, before winding up the tension with an unexpected reply. Here’s what I mean when I write that innocuous question into my new thriller;

The black BMW limo glides west onto the B44, then loops back to follow the Theodor-Stern-Kai motorway, parallel to the River Main. As they slow for the Friedensbrücke bridge the driver glances in his mirror.

“Sir, if I may ask, what have you got planned for the day?”

Michael is silent, his thoughts caught by dazzling sunlight on the water. Across the bridge, he gazes at the rising commercial landscape north of the round Westhafen Tower and finally speaks as their destination comes into view.

“I plan to change the world.” [new thriller, Ch 2]

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