When I read Thriller/Suspense novels, I am not just reading for personal pleasure. I am also attempting to learn how "the best" writers do it. I've developed this template to record information as I read. I then make copies of the pages for analysis and voice exercises.
Reader Notes Template
Published By: _______________________________
Date Published: _________________
Agent Acknowledged: _______________________
Story Milestones / Beats:
First Scene 0% _________________________________________
Premise 2.5% __________________________________________
Catalyst 8.3% __________________________________________
Plot Point I 25% ________________________________________
Act II Metaphor
Pinch Point I 37.5% _____________________________________
Mid-Point 50% _________________________________________
Pinch Point II
“All Is Lost” 62.5% _______________________________________
Plot Point II 75% ________________________________________
Learning to Imitate Voice:
Enter page numbers to copy for exercise:
Exercise 1: 1st three pages, & last page of 1st Chapter
Introducing the Protagonist:
a. Does the author use description? Dialogue? Action?
b. How (and when) does the author convey the character’s name, gender, job, age, and physical appearance? Page number: _____
c. What character traits does the author initially reveal, and how?
d. How much of the character’s background does the reader learn at the beginning?
Character Introductions: Enter name and page number where character is introduced:
Character 1 ____________________
Character 2 ____________________
Character 3 ____________________
Character 4 ____________________
Character 5 ____________________
Point of View:
What choices of point of view did the author make?
a. First Person?
b. Third Person?
c. Single point of view?
d.. Multiple point of view?
Action: Enter page numbers to copy for action, fight, chase, etc. scenes
Sex: Enter page numbers to copy __________________
Read the first three chapters. Make a list of the backstory elements and notice how the author chooses to convey each.