Monday, December 27, 2021

High Anxiety

 By Thomas Kies

When writing a thriller, I’ve been told that you need to keep ramping up the stakes, turn up the heat, and escalate the danger.  But throughout your story, you need to leave some room for your reader to take a breath and rest a moment or you run the risk of exhausting him or her to the point that they have to put your book down. 

We felt like we were at that resting point sometime over the summer.  My wife and I had gotten our vaccinations and the world seemed to be opening up again.  I was able to hold a couple of wildly successful book signings, attend some great functions, and even emcee a couple of events. 

Just seeing people again was exciting.  Back in April, I’d been asked to be the auctioneer at a school fundraiser at a local country club.  Before my part of the evening, we ate dinner and my wife asked, “What’s wrong?  Why are you so quiet?”

I glanced around the room and with a slight shrug I answered, “I’m not used to being in a room with all these people. The last time we were at any kind of event, it was over a year ago."

I managed to shake it off, ham it up, and we raised a ton of money for the school and for the kids.  On the spot, they asked me to come back in 2022.

Things were looking so rosy by October that I signed up for the Suffolk Mystery Writers Festival in March, Malice Domestic in April, and Thrillerfest in June. My wife and I booked a cruise to Alaska in May.

We were vaxxed and boosted and it seemed like the pandemic crisis had abated.

Then the omicron variant showed up.  

The stakes have ramped up, the heat is on, and the danger is escalating.  All bets are off.

It’s like those damned apocalypse movies you see on Netflix.  If everyone would just do what they need to do for self-preservation we’d all be better off.  But with every story, there must be a lunatic fringe.  

I have a reporter friend who had a trip booked for Europe in a few months and he bemoaned what was going on in the world now that omicron was the dominant strain.

I just said, “Plot twist.”

He asked me, “Would people believe all this if you had written it into one of your novels?”

Probably not.

This blog is blessedly brief because I’m writing in on Christmas Day and I really should be downstairs in the kitchen putting together coq au vin for dinner for tonight.

I’m wishing you a belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year with the hopes that our plot twists be few and trivial.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm beginning to hate plot twists.

Laurie Hernandez