Friday, October 22, 2010

TG Returns

Thriller Guy is back in harness after his week at the beach with the Squatting Toad, his writer's group. He found, once again, that he's not very good at introspection: sitting on the beach, gazing out at the endless waves, pondering his future. Boring. So TG would like to thank all the commenters who wrote to tell him to just shut his cake hole, quit whining and get back to work. Point well taken. TG promises no more of this sort of self indulgence.

So, the first order of business is to warn thriller writers that if they continue to use the cliché, “Time to get out of Dodge” he will be forced to eviscerate their puny novels with such lashing invective that the howls of pain and rending of garments will be heard throughout the length and breadth of the land. The last two thrillers TG read contained that hoary old line, as have many, many others of the the last several years. Ditto: “His/her head erupted in a burst of pink mist.” Can we not come up with another way to say this? TG doesn't believe it anyway; any readers out there ever witness such a phenomena when someone is hit in the head by a bullet? And while TG's at it, he is heartily sick of any variation of the old, “If I tell you I'll have to kill you” joke, even when uttered sarcastically. Enough.

Which brings TG to the subject of wisecracking heroes in general, and those who are not funny in particular. Some authors, you can tell when reading their books, find their own attempts at this sort of banter absolutely hilarious. The rugged hero jests back and forth with his underling buddy, accusing each other of various sorts of masculine deficiencies, commenting on a woman's obvious attributes, cracking wise under fire. The results are often painfully unfunny. TG is, and he knows this is difficult to believe, unable to come up with a fix for this problem. Obviously, the writer's friends, family and editors are all either moronic enough to think that the snappy repartee is actually funny, or afraid to offend his/her writerly feelings by suggesting they either come up with better material or just cut out the humor altogether. Which is what TG suggests; if you don't really have solid evidence that you are in fact actually funny, just resist the urge to josh and stick to coming up with thrills.

The same can be said with authors intent on clever dialogue between a hero and his love interest. Before accusing TG of rampant sexism for use of the word “his,” be advised that thrillers featuring a female hero with a male in the buddy/love interest role are virtually non-existent. TG invites any suggestions where this is the scenario. An exception to this rule is last September's Spartan Gold by Clive Cussler and Grant Blackwood. This new series features Sam and Remi Fargo who are treasure hunters who stumble upon a WWII Nazi mini-sub which leads them, eventually, to two solid gold Persian columns previously discovered by Napoleon and hidden in the Alps in 1800. The plot is the usual Cussler mind-bending stretch, but Blackwood (TG is guessing here, but after reading a zillion Cussler books he doesn't think Mr. C. is supplying much more than an outline or even just a story idea these days) is the pen behind the witty dialogue between this married couple. Both Sam and Remi are pretty much equal and both are cool under fire and dash into various frays side by side. TG is looking forward to the next adventure featuring this likable duo.

So there you have it. TG hopes one and all will forget his last dip into the well of self pity as an aberration brought on by the loss of a giant book contract that would have changed his life forever. And someday TG is going to tell that story; it's a real doozy.


  1. I didn't hear any self-pity. Frustration and disappointment perhaps, but nothing in the realm of woe-is-me snivel snivel category. Welcome back. :)

  2. Yes, welcome back. Hey, SOMEbody has to be in the trenches fighting the good fight.

    Maybe the upcoming generation of new thriller writers themselves are tired of the 'way things are done' (or more likely, the way old success is copied), and they'll write some thrillers that will get readers to take notice.

    We just have to wait a bit for them to finish writing them. (Uhh, we're going to hold you to the telling of that tale also)

  3. Good to have you back at the front line. No one hits the nail more precisely. I've lost count of how many times I've read "I could tell you..." line. It's even worse on TV. Every show must have used it at least once. Maybe it's like a right of passage to go through. Perhaps we all need to get a few clichés out of our systems in order to be better writers.

    And keep that well dry, otherwise who knows what might crawl out of it.

  4. TG: That's it? You got us all excited, all revved up for you to leave (or stay) and all we get is some perfunctory 'I'm done. I won't do it again.' TG, that is unsatisfying. Just like you have your list of do's and don'ts for thriller writers, here's mine:
    Don't bring your hero the edge of the cliff, a gun pointing at his pusser or a ton of steel beams dangling over his head and then have him just walk away without nary a dramatic note.
    Remember Superman comics? The cover drawing promised that the Man of Steel would be locked in mortal combat with a foe from outer space who was composed to Kryptonite or that he was already dying from Lex Luther's Superman killing ray. The cover showed the S-man wincing in agony. Well, once you bought the comic, lo and behold, it was just a dream or it happened in a parallel universe or some such cop out.
    You TG, are no better than a Superman hyped up cover drawing. There, I've said it.