Thriller is a genre of literature that creates intense emotions, particularly those of apprehension and exhilaration, in short "thrills". There are many subgenres, such as the crime thriller, horror thriller, political thriller, paranoid thriller, spy thriller, and so on, but today I want to talk about the difference in how the story is revealed to the reader, the difference between Mystery Thrillers and Suspense Thrillers.
Suspense is the anticipation that something is going to happen. Depending on the situation, it may elicit fear, tension, or dread, but it might also cause positive feelings. How do you create suspense? Lets take as an example a scene where the protagonist is on a train, and suddenly the train is derailed. The reader experiences surprise. If on the other hand the reader is told a terrorist sabotaged the rail track, and the reader knows which part of the track it is, and when the train is going to pass over it, then a boring journey is transformed into a suspenseful one. One line of surprise is replaced with a few pages of suspense. To create suspense it is necessary that the reader be as fully informed as possible. Based on this formula, a suspense thriller is a story in which the reader is waiting for something significant to happen.
A mystery thriller is a story of revelation. A significant event, usually a crime, has just occurred, and the hero has to discover who committed the crime, and how. The difficulty for mystery thriller writers is the fact that the main event (villain and the details of the crime) must remain secret till the end, so they can't be used to generate suspense. Another difficulty is that it's harder to generate suspense when the story revolves around an event that has already happened, as opposed to a life-threatening event that is going to happen in the future.
|Psycho (1960) shower scene|