What makes a story thrilling... Echoes by @AliceReeds from @EntangledTeen (Teaser & #Giveaway)

Welcome to my tour stop! Check out a teaser, top ten list, and enter the giveaway below...

By Alice Reeds
YA Thriller
Paperback & ebook, 400 Pages
August 7th 2018 by Entangled: Teen


"Fast-paced and thrilling. ECHOES is a heart-pounding and addictive love story." —Mia Siegert, author of Jerkbait

They wake on a deserted island. Fiona and Miles, high school enemies now stranded together. No memory of how they got there. No plan to follow, no hope to hold on to.

Each step forward reveals the mystery behind the forces that brought them here. And soon, the most chilling discovery: something else is on the island with them.

Something that won't let them leave alive.

Echoes is a thrilling adventure about confronting the impossible, discovering love in the most unexpected places, and, above all, finding hope in the face of the unknown.

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Guest Post:
Top Ten Things that Make a Story Thrilling or a Thriller

That’s an interesting question, or list request. I must admit my first reaction was ‘well I’d very much like to know that too’ because you can never know everything and I love learning new stuff. But, based on my experience with ECHOES, and watching/reading lots of thrillers, here are some things I think make a thriller or a story thrilling:

1.     Time is running out – any time you add any sort of countdown, it immediately increases the urgency and suspense. You’ll wonder “will they or won’t they make it?”. In ECHOES that element is obviously introduced when Miles and Fiona wake up after crashing on an island with limited food and water, and also something they aren’t immediately aware off adding only so much more to their predicament.
2.     Don’t give away all your cards – This one might definitely be one of the more important ones, one of the keys to a thriller: having to figure out a story piece by piece, discovering more of the layers, and slowly seeing how big the web might be and what really happened/is currently happening/might happen soon. If you have all the secrets immediately, or too quickly, the story will turn predictable, and if they come too slowly, the ending will be rushed and it’ll throw off the pacing. It’s that perfect balance that adds the thriller factor.
3.     False leads – Add layers and layers of possibilities for your reader, and characters, to follow. If you give us multiple options, everyone will pick one along the way, and they’ll read on to find out if they were right or wrong, and finding out the truth might be a thriller either way. If they were right, awesome, if they were wrong, even better.
4.     Limited space – What I mean by that are stories set at specific places, like an island or major city that’s foreign to the characters, which both happens in ECHOES. Something like this adds a layer of suspense, characters having to find a way to make their environment work for them, especially if they can’t leave. But what if that limited space is out to get them as well? What do they then?
5.     Useless skills  While Fiona knows how to kickbox, it isn’t necessarily helpful when you’re stuck on an island, is it? Despite what some action movies might want to make you believe, you can’t punch your way to answers when there is no one around to punch or who has those answers. This one also adds to the “will they, won’t they” question, having characters with specific skills that might be helpful for whatever they developed them for, yet when placed in a foreign space, they suddenly turn almost useless and they have to figure out other ways to help themselves.
6.     Characters you want to root for – I don’t think they necessarily have to be likable characters per se, but ones you still can’t help but cheer for. If a character is boring and you simply don’t care about them in any way, it would prevent the story from pulling you in and it wouldn’t be thrilling anymore.
7.     A villain to hate – This one is obvious, I suppose, but I don’t necessarily just mean a villain who is evil for the sake of being evil. It’s more about creating a villain readers want to hate based on their actions and not simply just because they are the villain.
8.     A convincing plot – This is probably another obvious one, yet still worth mentioning. If the plot is completely implausible and filled with plot twists that seem to be either too easy or come out of the blue, it’ll ruin the story. The best kinds of plot twists are the ones that are unexpected yet plausible, ones you can understand instead of feeling confused by them.
9.     Maybe try some humor – A thrillers usually isn’t the type of story a reader picks up when they want to have a laugh, but having small moments of humor still adds to the story. It helps to ease the tension a little bit so there isn’t just a constant stream of uncontrolled suspense, fear, and darkness. Even while lost on the island or in Berlin, Miles and Fiona still find some kind of reason for just a moment of banter or a small joke.
10.  Creativity – Every thriller or thrilling story has something that is unique to it or something that’s specific to the author. Maybe disregard some genre rules, throw in a scene that might not immediately fit but make sense in the grand scheme of things, bend reality, whatever it might be. It’s creative and adds that little something to the story and makes it memorable.

And that’s it! I’m not an expert so I’m sure there are many, many more things that make a thriller or a story thrilling, but these are the ones that come to my mind.

Thank you so much for having me!

About the Author

Alice Reeds was born in a small town in Germany but spent her first eight years in Florida, USA. Later on, she moved back to Europe, where her family moved around a lot. She was raised trilingual and has a basic understanding of Russian, read and spoken. After getting her International Baccalaureate Diploma, Alice is studying English Language and Literature at University. In her free time Alice mostly writes, reads, figure and/or roller skates, or watches countless let's plays and figure skating videos.

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