Blog Post

New Thriller Genre Gists Now Available

Jun 9th, 2016

The monthly installment of the Narrative First Genre Gist Collections is now ready for those monthly and yearly subscribers to Narrative First. The Genre for June is Thrillers and includes everything from Mossad to Blackhawk Helicopters to Double-Agents and even the President of the United States. Exactly how many Gists are included in the package?


Insane, right? That's over 140,000 points of story telling that you can add to your next Tom Clancy techno-espionage spy thriller!

Randomly rolling the dice in Dramatica Story Expert (after installing the Gists through the Gist Manager), I came up with these Four Throughlines:

  • Objective Story: Running a Funeral Parlor and Winning the Sexy Spy's Heart
  • Main Character: Fixating on the Drug King's Son and Falling in Love with the Secret Files
  • Influence Character: Being Under Siege by the Cannibal and Bettering Casablanca's Future
  • Relationship Story: Being Unfaithful with the Major and Personifying the Drug Dealer's Estate

Well, I admit a Cannibal doesn't really fit very well in there [^1], and falling in love with Secret Files seems a bit ridiculous...but that is just the point. These Gists are supposed to free up your creativity and give you ideas for taking your stories places you never dreamed of before.

So the above might be about: Linda Flavio, a super sexy CIA agent working to unravel a drug ring run out of a family-owned funeral home in Colombia. Obsessed with her job, Linda finds herself fixated on Juan--the son of the ruthless and cannibalistic Drug King--an obsession that gets her into trouble with her on-again and off-again boyfriend, Carlos Esteban, a major in the National Army of Colombia. Carlos struggles with being a middle man between the people of his country and corrupt politicians above him and spends countless nights working to better Colombia for future generations. The relationship between Linda and Carlos grows tenuous as more and more fight for Linda's attention--even the Drug King himself. Eventually, the two start to realize that the deceit and distrust that exists between the two of them merely reflects the same in the fight to stop the drug trade. They vow to be more honest and committed and combine their efforts to bring the King down.

Sounds pretty cool to me. Fifteen minutes ago I had nothing. Now I have the bones of a story that will hold together thematically because of the storyform that ties all the above points together. Linda's obsession and Carlos' focus on the future of Colombia--they're really one and the same. You can imagine two workaholics having that classic "You and I" scene..."You and I are both alike. Our obsessions rule our lives...Yes, but the difference is my obsession helps other people out...yours only serves your own selfish interests."

Cheesy dialogue, to be sure, but you can see how it works. Note how I dropped the whole Casablanca thing. You don't need to really follow the storytelling all the way down. It's good if you can to kind of work against your own preconceptions, but if it doesn't work, it doesn't work.

How about another one?

  • Objective Story: Escaping From the Demolitions Expert and Ensnaring Chemical Weapons
  • Main Character: Being Righteous About the President and Being in Love with the Co-Pilot
  • Influence Character: Being Stuck in the North and Looking Forward to Having a Family with the President's Secretary
  • Relationship Story: Being Discontented with the Hostages and Changing the Battering Ram

Ok, that last one is hilarious. What exactly is the "Battering Ram" in a relationship? Does it have batteries you need to change out?

This story is about Mark Zwift, an avid Bush supporter who also happens to be in love with the co-pilot of his Apache war-helicopter. Ensnaring Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons is the order of the day, an order that Mark is more than happy to follow through with. Only problem is the CIA senior analyst Rosetta Marcos that Mark runs into on one of his missions. Stuck in Falujah for years now and starting to think that a future with Julie, the President's secretary, an impossibility, Rosetta latches onto Mark as a way of projecting her anger towards Bush's policies. If she can somehow convince this zealot to feel discontent towards the relative "hostage" situation all American forces feel at this time in the way, then maybe the two of them can change the battering ram of the current administration to bring peace to the people of Iraq.

Again, not what I expected at all--even when I started to write that paragraph--but I think it has the makings of a potentially great story. Two people with very similar interpersonal relationships that they both can't fulfill, yet at the same time two very different people when it comes to their interactions with the world around them. Less a thriller and more a political statement on so many levels, this is how story becomes something more than the words on the page.

The Dramatica storyform underneath both these examples ties everything together. Interesting little tidbit: out of the 32,767 storyforms the Dramatica Story Expert can provide the above two examples used the same storyform. Yep, that's right. The two examples above are the same exact story.

But they couldn't be more different in their storytelling.

If this sounds like something you would be interested in playing around with, please visit our Narrative First Membership page and subscribe. We look forward to hearing from you!

[^1]: I was thinking Silence of the Lambs when I added that one in there.