As a thriller comes to a close, the tension has to build. Otherwise there aren't any thrills. Readers will be disappointed and fling their printed books at hard surfaces. (This is one place where e-readers can't compete. You wouldn't want to fling your Kindle or iPad at a wall unless you have a lot of money and someone to clean up after you.) But when a writer wants to increase the tension he has to keep a few things in mind. He should pick up the pace of the story. Ideally, this will get the reader to zip through the text and turn the pages faster, too. Each scene should be of more consequence: life or death situations are always good but ones that have been done a million times should be avoided. From my point of view, the language used should become more spare and pointed.
But you can't—absolutely cannot—change your character's basic nature or voice. You can exaggerate both because extreme conditions can produce extreme reactions, but Nancy Pelosi will never become Liz Cheney or vice versa. Right? Right.
Today, I wrote five-plus pages. In the first scene, the previously passive sexual voyeur is finding increasing pleasure in taking a more active role. His counterpart, the doer not the watcher of the two, on the other hand, counsels caution and is rebuffed. So, true to his nature, he conceives a way of both getting his thrills and protecting himself the best he can. In scene two, a minor supporting character calls upon the lessons of a historic massacre to try to persuade a major supporting character to get out of Dodge. He fails, leaving the reader with a sense of foreboding. In scene three, two media figures bring a sense of anxious reality to an increasingly surreal gathering of ordinary men who could become very dangerous.
Day 87 of writing my new novel is done.