Welcome to the Thrillerfest V Blog!

We hope you'll bookmark us, just as you bookmark so many of the hundreds of the International Thriller Writers that participate in our annual conference, held in New York City in July.

ITW is a youthful organization, always ready for a new way of looking at things. You'll find that dynamism here, in blog posts from authors, agents, editors and Thrillerfest attendees, past and present.

And that same excitement you feel from your favorite reads is evident in everything ITW does, and no wonder--the organization, staffing and publicity for ThrillerFest--including this new blog--is undertaken by volunteers, most of whom are ITW authors themselves.

So pull up a chair and stay awhile ... discover the latest news on what Thrillerfest V--the fifth anniversary of the conference--has to offer. Visit old friends, make new ones, ask questions, and hear about the remarkable things in store for the conference.

Whether or not you can come see us in New York--and we hope that you can!--please join us here. It's gonna be ... a thriller!

Kelli Stanley, Thrillerfest Publicity Committee Chair

Thrillerfest Publicity Committee:
Jeannie Holmes
CJ Lyons
Carla Buckley
Grant McKenzie

Monday, February 22, 2010

Celebrate Craft! - Weep No More, My Hero

Celebrate the Craft! - From the blog of the Thriller Guy

Please, Thriller writers, no more heroes who shed tears. No more manly weeping.

Thrillers are about tough guys. Often, far too often, I'll be reading along and suddenly I can almost hear the writers' mind-gears begin to grind:

OK, I've had a bunch of action scenes, I've had my guy kill when he has to, he's shown he has the skills and the guts to get the job done. Hmm, what I need now is to prove that he's also got a soft side, that he cares, especially about the love interest, that he has depth. I've got to hook some women readers, everyone says they're the only ones buying books these days. I know! I'll have him cry! Women love it when a man cries!

Sorry. Actually, women hate it when a man cries. In real life and in books.

Men hate it as well.

In a thriller, it's just sooo obvious, such a cheap ploy to try and snag reader sympathy. Instead of figuring out an interesting, novel way for the hero to show emotion, the author takes the low road and sure enough, the hero's eyes begin to “well with tears.”

“He turned his head so she couldn't see the tear that trailed down his cheek.”

“He felt hot tears spring to his eyes.”


And I'm not talking about first novels or wannabes, Big Guys (you know who you are) do this over and over. I think it's always a mistake. Even though I may love the rest of the book, it's always tainted for me if the hero cries.

It makes the author look exploitive. It makes the character look foolish, and what is worse, weak.

Which is the kiss of death for a thriller character.

I think Lee Child's series character Reacher is pretty much the epitome of a thriller hero. He's beyond tough, but at the same time readers know he can be emotional, that he has feelings. I haven't read all the books in the series, but has Reacher ever wept? I'm asking the question of those of you who are aficionados of this series. Has he ever shed a tear? I'll bet not. Or let's just ask Lee Child. Are you out there? Has Reacher ever wept?

OK, here's a challenge to writers and to readers. Writers, if you've ever had your hero weep, tell us where and why you think it worked. Readers, if you disagree with me, send me an example of a thriller hero who weeps, cries, sheds a tear or two and who comes off looking the better for it.

I'm the most unreligious of men, but the only one that I can come up with that does work is in The King James Bible, the Gospel of John, Chapter 11, verse 35. In its entirety.

“Jesus wept.”

You can celebrate craft with us at CraftFest in New York in July!

1 comment:

  1. Amen! I read a thriller for the larger in life characters and storyline. Reality is with me everyday! No more tears, please.