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  • Writer's pictureD. P. Lyle

Criminal Mischief: Episode #20: Elements Of A Thriller


Elements of a Thriller

Open with a Bang or a Chill or a Compelling Question

Establish the 4 Ws Early-------Who, What, When, and Where

Inciting Incident---Sets the protagonist’s story in motion

Establish the Story Question—What does the Protagonist want/need?

Rising Tension

Who/What opposes the Protagonist and Why?

What does the antagonist want/need?

Establish a Time or Situation Endpoint

Scenes advance or obstruct the protagonist’s attaining goal

Each power scene poses a question and ends with:



Yes, but------------------------Strong

No, and further more———————————-Strongest

Convergence of Space and Time—“Life in a Trash Compactor”

Epiphany---Protagonist grasps the solution

Personal Jeopardy---Protagonist must fear for personal safety

Mano a’ Mano---Protagonist must confront antagonist “face to face”

Resolution---all major story questions are resolved

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