Genre and Structure

Four of my books (with a fifth completed) are generally in the thriller genre. They revolve around espionage, government intrigue, and the contest for geopolitical power. A fairly standard genre with many writers practicing their trade in a like manner. Within that genre any number of structures are possible. The one I have employed in all five of the books mentioned above is that of a book-long chase scene. The protagonist gets hints of a plan that will potentially harm the interests it's the protagonist's job to protect. The reader is let in on the antagonist's plan and the book follows the protagonist as he tries to catch up. While surprises are part of the chase, each book has more obstacles than surprises, and those obstacles allow the antagonist to stay ahead of the protagonist for most of each novel. So let's be honest, in a James Bond story, there is little question that Bond will survive and that he will conquer his enemy. So it is with my books. How the protagonist survives and conquers is the meat of the story. The reader observes the chase without undue obfuscation. Hopefully, that will keep the reader's attention without having to resort to surprise turns in the plot or revelations that conveniently, and perhaps artificially, aid the protagonist in the chase. It's a straightforward structure, and that's as it should be, I think. After all, as Tolstoy pointed out, there are really only two stories: a stranger comes to town, and a man goes on a journey. Sending a hero on a journey in an espionage thriller states succinctly what I do in most of my prose.