I’m reading Violets are Blue by James Patterson to get an idea of how popular thrillers are written. It’s been very educational. According to this book, here are his 7 Golden Rules of Writing:
- Write simple sentences. Don’t use big words or describe people wearing colors other than black or “powder blue.”
- Dialogue should be monotonous. Have your characters say the same thing over and over. Especially the hero. He has to bemoan his life yet cheer himself on in the next breath, reminding himself how great he is. Over and over. Bemoan, cheer, repeat! If that doesn’t work, have other people say the same thing. Bemoan, cheer, repeat!
- Keep your chapters short. Three pages is pushing it.
- Take a subculture — like goths — and exploit them in the most obnoxiously ignorant way. Use the real names of their clubs in Los Angeles, and make sure every person depicted is a lunatic, a drug addict, or both. Get everything wrong, even if getting it right would make your story more complex and interesting. Don’t even try to understand said subculture. They won’t know! They’ll never read your book, anyway!
- Don’t worry about the accuracy of anything you write. Geography, culture, language — it’s fiction! You can do what you want!
- Kill a lot of people.
- Make your villians go to Vegas. No reason. Just get them there. You’ve got to write off that trip to Vegas for your taxes somehow…
Wow! I’m ready now to write a commercially successful thriller. It’ll take about a month.
But please shoot me first.