Sounds like it could be one of those late-night advertisements for a personal injury law firm, doesn’t it? If you’ve been injured, you deserve compensation. Call the law offices of Reacher, Bosch and Fletcher – for your no obligation consultation.
Jokes aside, I’m actually quite excited about my new thriller, which debuted my newest character – Joe Fletcher – in my latest short story entitled The Delivery Man. When I first had the idea for the story, I didn’t even think about a character series. I simply had the idea for the plot, knew I needed someone to fill the protagonist role, and somehow landed on the foul-mouthed and often impatient Joe Fletcher.
I’m actually brand new to the genre of thriller, both as a writer and a reader. I’ve done a few by John Grisham, which I loved, and have wanted to expand my TBR (to-be-read) pile to include some of the more popular character-based thriller series’ that you’d typically find on the shelf at Barnes and Noble these days. Whether it’s Michael Connelly with Bosch, Lee Child with Reacher, or John Sandford with Davenport – these guys have cashed in on an age-old book model that has paid off for them in spades. The model is quite simplistic, really. Develop a character that people find relatable, but also unique; give them a troubled back-story and personal arc to humanize them, and then shove them into a different action-packed adventure (or mystery) in each and every book. The seemingly great thing about this model is that you can recycle much of the character details like backstory, there’s little to no carry through of plot from earlier books, and if you end up garnering an audience, it’s almost guaranteed that they will devour each and every book in the series – so long that the series doesn’t lose steam or get too repetitive.
While this is definitely an over-simplification of the genre as a whole, it’s a tried and true model that, when executed correctly, can turn a no-name author into a bestselling powerhouse over time. I think readers in general like the idea of familiarity and find comfort in getting to know a character time and time again. The individual plot lines keep the reader intrigued, while the familiar mannerisms and dialogue of the character get them coming back for more. While it’s true that I haven’t even read a single one of these beloved series giants, I’m fascinated in the model itself and have absorbed loads of articles, blog posts, and podcasts on this subject and am eager to try this model myself.
Granted, my Fletcher debut is obviously a short story, and I plan to continue to write short stories for at least the near future – but the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that this model can be fun and entertaining to both read and write, even as a short story series, rather than a run of novels. I’m determined to continue writing as much as possible, and hone my craft bit by bit, and I feel like applying this idea to some of my short stories going forward can kill two birds with one stone – I’ll get closer to finding my voice as a writer, and I’ll become more acquainted with the character-based model and hopefully become quite good at executing it.
With all of that being said, I’ve formed the idea-nugget for my next Fletcher short story, and I’m very excited to get started on it. In truth, I was planning on starting it today, but I ran out of time this afternoon, and couldn’t devote the several hours that it typically takes to get a story rolling and find some traction. So instead, I’m writing this blog post. But I fully expect that by week’s end, I will have the first installment for the new short story, which I’ve titled The Ransom Run.
P.S. – I’ve always been in the habit of doing the title art for my stories, before I even start writing them. I like to think it gives me a visual aid to stay excited and inspired during the writing process. Consequently, the title art for The Ransom Run is already finished, and if you’d like a sneak peak, head over to the Fiction section on this blog and check out the fruits of my labor. Personally, I think it looks pretty cool!
Update 2/4/18 – The first installment is finished and online.
Update 2/18/18 – Part II is now available!