CRF Blog

Tinker, Tailor, Reporter, Thriller

by Bill Hayes

In Tinker, Tailor, Reporter, Thriller, an essay for the New York Times Book Review, Adam LeBor writes about mastering the art of writing about spies.

The essence of journalism is revelation and explanation: We present the causes and consequences of an event for the reader. We answer the questions, convey the complexities and do the thinking so you don’t have to. Or not too much.

The essence of fiction, especially thriller writing, is exactly the opposite: obfuscation, mystery and deception loop through a maze of switchbacks — ideally strewn with the dead bodies of double agents, dupes, femmes fatales, sinister businessmen. [more]