Today we have a guest post from Jack Heath….
“How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?” Tyler Durden says in Fight Club. Someone recently asked why I like action thrillers so much, and I think it’s because until a character is trapped in a life-or-death situation, the reader never really knows them. Is the heroine brave? Is she quick-thinking? How will we find out, without some violent opposition to stand in her way?
I’m a big fan of reverse engineering. Each character is taken apart – sometimes literally – to see how they work. This may sound cruel, but readers won’t empathise with any protagonist whose life is easy.
That’s why Hit List doesn’t begin with the heroine at all. It begins with a murderous thief, staring at her photograph as he rehearses his brutal revenge. He is one of her many obstacles, so I need to establish him quickly.
The other reason I like action books – as opposed to movies, television programs or games – is that there are no limits to the spectacle. Filmmakers are hindered by what the investors won’t pay for and what the star’s agent will veto. Game designers can only include what the animators can draw and the programmers can write.
Meanwhile, a book’s characters are free to drive on, jump off, tear down and blow up whatever the novelist thinks will be most exciting. Speaking as both a writer and a reader, this is a lot of fun. The hard part isn’t coming up with obstacles for the heroine. The tough part is figuring out how to keep her alive.
You can find out more about Jack on his website: http://jackheath.com.au/
You can also follow Jack on twitter: @JackHeathWriter
Hit List is available to buy now: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hit-List-Jack-Heath/dp/1409531104