Expect the Unexpected

Last month, I focused on the theme of “Truth is Stranger Than Fiction.”  This month, if you don’t mind, I’d like to talk about what I write and how I write it, with maybe just a few random things thrown in for good measure.  And if you notice anything I’m doing wrong, I’d appreciate your input as to how I can correct it.

Recently, I answered an interview question which asked how my work differs from others in its genre.  And I guess when I answered, I overlooked the obvious.  I didn’t, in fact, realize it at the time, but apparently there aren’t a lot of female authors who write what I write.  As a matter of fact, I’m having a hard time finding a lot of women who are even willing to read what I write.  As soon as I say the words “psychological thriller,” a lot of my female friends wrinkle their noses and say something like, “Oh no!  That would scare me to death!”

Wimps!  😉

I find this funny, because they have no idea just how not scary the ending might just be. (Is a person who’s gone off the deep end really “scary?”)

I’ve also had a couple of contest judges as well as a couple of beta readers read a short (less than a chapter) excerpt of one or another of my novels and offer a critique which included something to the effect of, “I can tell by reading this that blah, blah, blah is going to happen at the end.  You might want to rethink letting the reader know this so soon.”

While I truly do appreciate constructive criticism, that comment is never constructive to me.  I just laugh whenever this happens.  I think that these people obviously do not understand the very definition of the term “psychological thriller.”

A psychological thriller is a fictional story that focuses on the mind of its characters and their unstable emotional states.  As such, the only thing you can expect is the unexpected.

For example, let me ask you a question…

If you could invite any three people to dinner, either living or dead,…

Wait.  First, let’s set some rules here…

First of all, let’s say that I had the power to raise the dead.  Okay, not only can I bring them back to life, but I can bring them back at any age, not just the age that they were when they died.  Also, I can revive them to any state of health, either mental or physical.  Understand?  So, for example, I could bring back your great-grandmother who died at 97 years old with Alzheimer’s disease, and I could make her be 26 and in perfect health.  Got it?  Good.

They could be people that you’ve known in your lifetime or people you’ve never even met.  They could be everyday, average people, or they could be famous.

Not only would the guests not have to know each other, but they don’t even have to have lived in the same lifetime.  For example, you could invite William Shakespeare, Moe Howard  from The Three Stooges, and Miley Cyrus if you wanted to.

If you invited the President or the Queen, they would come alone without the Secret Service or other body guards.  And they’d speak candidly and not guarded as they might to the press.

The dinner would be completely safe.  If, for example, you wanted to invite Adolph Hitler or Charles Manson, they’d have to accept your invitation, and they could not harm you in any way.

Also, they’d have to answer anything you asked of them.  And they’d have to answer truthfully.

The dinner would last for exactly three hours, and none of the guests could leave early.

Additionally, if their native language is different than yours, they’d automatically be able to and have to speak so that you could understand them.

(Are you seeing the endless possibilities of your guest list yet?)

So, as I was saying, if you could invite any three people to dinner, either living or dead…

Would you serve beef or chicken?

{{Be honest:  Did you expect that to be the question?  I thought not.}}  🙂


So tell me, what genres of books do you like to read?

43 thoughts on “Expect the Unexpected

  1. I’d invite me at 20; me at 40 and me now and serve up ripe French cheeses on authentic French bread. After dinner the three ‘me’s’ could have a jolly good punch-up.

  2. I’m not too sure. Can I invite fictional characters? That would be awesome! For real humans, I think I would probably invite Paul from the Bible, Tom Hiddleston (aka Loki) since we’d need a sense of humor other than mine, and I guess if I invited Tom Hiddleston I’d have to invite my friend Hannah, since she’s obsessed with him. 🙂

  3. Must get back to you on this. I am one who will act spontaneously in a crisis, while overthinking the everyday things. Oddly enough this appears to fall into the latter category (because this happens everyday- having people brought back by choice lol)

  4. Not given the ending to your story, how could these folks assume that you are giving away the end to your story by reading one early chapter? Good God!

    I love a good story, cross genres, Rachel. Mysteries are good. Cop shops are good. Law stumpers are good. I’ll read you, that’s for sure.

  5. I read a little bit of a lot of things. Lately I’ve been making every other book one of the Dresden Files. There are so many of them I don’t want to turn it into a death march.

    Oh, and I want to serve fish but it wasn’t an option.

  6. Haha! No I did not see that coming Rachel! You are fabulous! Ps…I thought you said this month’s posts wouldnt be as exciting as last months? Well, I see you got that wrong, lol!!!

  7. I’d say serve both chicken AND beef. Serve them raw, and see what disgusting hilarity ensues. As for genre, I’m a “typical” girl, I guess, and don’t read psychological thrillers. Mostly because I’d have nightmares for weeks. But I’m willing to try something new. I mostly focus on MG fantasy (the genre I’m currently writing in), but I also read Christian fiction, Christian romance, historical fiction, non-fiction, the classics, contemporary fiction, fantasy, a few mysteries, etc.
    If you have any recommendations for a thriller that won’t give me insomnia for a month, I’ll definitely check it out! (I’m trying to get out of my comfort zone).
    And shame on the peeps who didn’t read to the end. 🙂

  8. 🙂 Chicken, because I think it’s a friendlier choice. I loved fiction when I was younger and now prefer nonfiction. Love your photo here too, very atmospheric and unexpected!

  9. Love it! Great points! People should withhold judgment until reading the WHOLE story. I like psychological thrillers mainly because I like learning about what makes people tick.
    LOL … I would serve beef, BTW. 😉

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