Monday, October 05, 2020

Recipe for a Thriller No One Will Believe

 Let’s put together a recipe for a kick ass thriller, shall we?

Hmmm…the time should be an election year.  The setting should be a polarized nation in the throes of unrest in the streets, protests against systemic racial injustice.  Let’s throw in some ultra-right-wing white supremacists wearing camouflage and carrying weapons. And the ultimate backdrop is a pandemic that has effectively dismantled the economy and killed more that 200,000 Americans. 

That should catch the reader’s attention.

Let’s not stop there.  When you’re writing a thriller or a mystery, you have to turn up the heat.  Let’s not let the reader get too comfortable.

A much-loved Supreme Court justice has passed away only weeks from the election.  Even better, mail-in ballots have started coming in. In effect, the election is already underway.  Over howls of protest, one faction of the Senate pushes to confirm a justice, even though four years before, they denied confirming a judge under another president they didn’t like. 

Ah, good, now the clock is ticking.  But how can we ratchet up the tension?

How about if the current president introduced his pick for supreme justice in the Rose Garden of the White House and hardly anyone in the audience wore a mask and sat shoulder to shoulder.  Remember…this is in the middle of a pandemic.

Hmmm…I wonder if that would stretch believability.

Well then how about a debate?  While the two candidates square off on stage, one candidate’s family and friends sit shoulder to shoulder and aren’t wearing masks.  Plus, get this, the debate goes off the rails. One of the candidates turns the evening into a hectoring mess of lies and insults. Even the moderator can’t get it under control.

I’ll bet my publisher would say, “That would never happen.”  

Now the plot twist that the readers should have seen coming a mile away.  The president, his wife, many of his staff, and guests at the Rose Garden event are now infected with the virus. Two of them are senators on the judicial committee who will be critical to confirming the next supreme court judge. 

The president is flown to Walter Reed Hospital.

No, I don’t know how this thriller ends.  It hasn’t been written yet. 

But if I WERE the author, I’d start over.  It’s just too damned crazy. 


Sailorbuoy said...

We are truly living a horror novel with an abominable administration destroying everything good in our country.

Susan D said...

I've heard it said, If real life were a novel, it would never find a publisher.

Sybil Johnson said...

This truly is a crazy time. If I'd seen that as a summary of a novel, I wouldn't believe it either!

Ellen said...

Love this post! As a book, it sounds like an amazing page-turner. As life, well, I prefer dull and boring. So many memoirs and tell-all books are coming out about this administration and those I've read have been page-turners, too. I guess life with a reality TV personality in the White House means expecting as much.