Rinsed, the second standalone instalment in Gerry Rose’s Elliot Trilogy of thrillers, was published at the end of August by The Book Guild. A fast paced family saga of betrayal, violence and ultimately tragic revenge, the book is set in 2005 and begins in a week that London will never forget.
Here, Gerry gives his eight top tips for writing a thriller series:
Firstly, find a new CONCEPT. Thrillers are evolving, so avoid being formulaic or mainstream. The idea behind the Elliot Trilogy is to follow the challenging career of a determined young detective, but by setting each book in a separate decade - the eighties, nineties and noughties – I’ve developed a different approach to thriller writing.
This has also given me the freedom to explore the huge social change experienced in Britain over that period and draw on real events to create a fusion of fact and fiction – a sense that these stories might just be true!
Finding the VOICE inside your head that will drive the telling of your story is key. This inner voice dictates the story to you, enabling your work to come to fruition. For a thriller series, it is critical that this voice can be found again for subsequent books.
We all have many inner voices. I am also writing a series of children’s books and these obviously require a totally different story-telling tone.
The world is full of horrendous REAL CRIME, so finding story material is a thriller writer’s gift from modern society. There are very few crimes that have not already been committed! Go find them and make them your own!
GRAB the reader and don’t ever let go! Find a style that is fast-paced and keeps the reader on edge - really curious about what happens next!
Set the books in PLACES that are most familiar to you. I pride myself in my detail and can only do so because I have personally visited all the locations used in my books – with the possible exception of a particularly seedy Soho massage parlour!
Populate your story with CHARACTERS that the reader can relate to, be it by loving or hating them! Discard characters that don’t stimulate some form of emotional response.
In the Elliot Trilogy these include people who do some pretty bad things and a challenge is to write in ways that help the reader understand these actions, but doesn’t judge them. Let the readers judge for themselves. This provides the freedom to introduce and develop interesting and diverse characters as your story unfolds.
Don’t be afraid to drop in a TWIST. I’ve always held a morbid fascination for folk who get away with bad-stuff, so there is no pressure to have a tidy ending.
Finally, ENJOY the process. Can there be anything more fulfilling than engaging with other people by inviting them into the unique world of your imagination?