Which superpower would you choose? Flying like Superman? Being Invisible? Everything you touch turns to gold?
Before movies and books got obsessed with superpowers, we had wishes. These usually came in threes. When I was a kid, I read lots of books about kids who screwed up two of their wishes and used the third to change everything back to normal. Now, I was a weird kid and I took this problem very seriously. After a lot of thought, I decided my wish would be that everything I ever wished for would come true.
Good one, right?
When I was introduced to superpowers, I wasn’t that impressed. Wonder Woman, Superman, Spiderman, they didn’t do much for me. I still hankered for my three wishes. Then I came across the Invisible Man. Now that was a superpower I could wish for. For much of my teens, I daydreamed about walking around unseen. Who wouldn’t want to be able to go anywhere and do anything without any chance of getting caught? Remember how many problems Harry Potter solved with his invisibility cloak?
But I discovered there was something even better.
One day I was watching TV and a Mel Gibson film came on – “What Women Want”. That’s when I found my dream superpower – being able to hear what people are thinking. Invisibility allows you to see what others are doing when they think you’re not around. Reading people’s thoughts lets you know the secrets they hide from everyone.
Now, none of us will ever be able to read people’s minds, but that’s okay.
Mel Gibson could walk into a room and immediately know what everyone was thinking but what’s the fun in that? It might come in handy occasionally but it would soon get boring. Thrillers, on the other hand, make you work to figure out secrets. Not just the characters’ secrets but also secrets the author is keeping from the reader. What doesn’t the author want you to see? Is something a red herring or is it vital to understanding what’s really going on?
Best of all, at the end, you find out if you were right? What more could anybody want?
I read a lot of thrillers but I also write them. If you’d like to guess what secrets I am keeping from you in my thriller ‘Girl Targeted’, check it out here.