The suspense genre is characterized by stories that gradually generate feelings of uncertainty, anticipation, and anxiety in the readers. On the other hand, thriller stories are fast-paced and revolve around a plot where the protagonist is usually in danger from the beginning.

Lastly, action-adventure stories are suspenseful, and the primary character usually goes off on a mission that involves some danger and risk. Today, we will look at the differences between these three types of genres in literature.

These Genres Have Different Pacing

The main difference between suspense, thriller, and action-adventure novels is that they have different pacing. Suspense stories usually unfold at a slow pace, which helps build anticipation in the audience and allows the readers to know more about the protagonist.

On the contrary, action-adventure stories are on the high end of the pacing scale. These books usually contain quick changes of scenes and settings where the main characters are involved in attacks, chases, violence, explosions, etc.

Thriller stories fall somewhere in the middle. The beginning of the story is used to establish some dangerous situation and the plot then revolves around what happens next. In suspense stories, readers are usually waiting for the other shoe to drop, while in a thriller, they read about what happens after the big reveal.

A bookshelf containing different colored books.

The Dissimilarities in Plot

Another way in which these three genres differ from each other is their plot. The plot usually refers to the conflict in the story and how the characters act in order to resolve the dispute.

The genre of suspense is focused on building tension in the reader to the point of climax. Hence, the plot focuses on internal conflict within the characters, which is juxtaposed with mundane or ordinary external events.

Action-adventure stories rely on creating conflict between two different forces, such as an evil villain or a challenging natural environment that the characters have to navigate. Lastly, trailers have an action-oriented plot and contain a psychological element to the story, creating suspense for the reader and engaging them in the action.

The Use of Dramatic Tension

Dramatic tension is a term that highlights which characters know about the conflict and how this conflict is conveyed throughout the story. Dramatic tension is used to engage the reader in the storyline.

In action-adventure or thriller novels, the main characters are aware of their situation and trying to solve the conflict. However, in suspense, the tension is drawn out because the readers know something that the characters are not aware of.

If you’re looking for stories that capture the elements of thriller, action-adventure, and suspense genre, check out my book collection of historical fiction at Joseph Woodward. I’m an award-winning author, and my biographical fiction books contain aspects of romance, mystery, thrill, adventure, and more. Visit my website to get your hands on a free copy today!

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