One of the most difficult things about writing for me is plotting. Some people use bulletin boards, note cards, or elaborate charts to get their ideas in place. I just write a simple outline and hope my chapters follow along. This has worked for me with some success until now.
Because I’m writing a YA Thriller and the plotting is kicking my behind! Trying to figure out when to reveal certain plot points, throwing in red herrings, as well as having tight prose, is no easy task my friends.
So why am I bemoaning all this? Because I just read Gretchen McNeil’s, TEN, and the intricate plotting blew me away. She weaved such an amazingly tight story that even down to the last chapter, I was still wondering who the bad guy/girl was. And it’s no easy feat to fool me. Friends and family refuse to watch mystery movies with me because I ALWAYS know who the villain is in the first five minutes.
I’m not going to give many details about this book, because I can’t stand it when people give away spoilers. All I will say is the premise surrounds ten teenagers who sneak away to a remote island for a weekend party. As they contemplate the evening’s festivities, someone pops in a DVD, and the real story takes off. In gruesome detail our villain lets every reveler know that before the weekend is over they will all be dead.
I’ll be honest, about half way through, I started to worry this was going to have a predictable ending. I was sure I knew which way the story was headed. But, Ms. McNeil had more than a couple of surprises up her sleeve – all of which caught me completely off guard.
My only negative comment about the story was there were some issues with the climax scene. While filled with loads of tension, it had me feeling disembodied at certain points. I found myself rereading the text several times just to figure out where the characters were in the scene, which brought down the impact of the ending.
Regardless of this minor issue, I highly recommend TEN to anyone who enjoys an intense thriller. While marketed as Young Adult Fiction, I think any fan of Adult Fiction (thrillers or mysteries) would find this a heart-stopping read.
And one last thing… If you do read TEN, I challenge you to predict who the killer is. I bet, you too, will be shocked by the mind-blowing ending!
RATING: Absolutely worth the chase
A side note: Gretchen will be part of my W.O.W. series in October. Come back by and check out what she has to say about her writing journey. It’s one interview you won’t want to miss!