How To Write A Thriller

Villains. Cliffhangers. Red herrings. How much excitement can you pack into one thriller plotline? The more, the merrier. That’s what makes thrillers one of the most popular forms of literature, film and television. After all, who doesn’t love that edge of the seat action, the thrill of the chase and the sense of satisfaction once the good guy saves the day? Thrillers are a roller coaster ride of adrenaline for the audience; it’s up to the writers to deliver a rip roaring good time.


This article will help you line up the right components to take your audience on an adventure they won’t soon forget. Before you begin, you must remind yourself of the thriller genre’s only goal: The good guy must thwart the plans of the bad guy…ideally in a fast-paced, action-packed format!


Oftentimes, the thriller can be confused with a mystery. The primary purpose of a mystery is for the main character to solve a crime that has already happened. While this element may be infused within your thriller plotline, it’s important to frame it within the context of the protagonist-antagonist chase. Here are some other qualities of a successful thriller:


The hero. Thriller heroes typically fall into one of two camps: The “action professional,” someone with plenty of bad-guy fighting experience, or the “ordinary Joe/Jane,” who’s been placed in extraordinary circumstances, usually by accident. Some of the most interesting thrillers combine the two for an intriguing twist that keeps the audience rooting for the unlikely team.


The villain. While the “good guys” in a thriller are often developed to relate to the audience in some way, the villains are only limited by the writer’s imagination. Memorable villains have been non-human, such as monsters, ghosts, techno-beasts, chemical agents and aliens. Even human villains have twists of the un-real, like psychotic tendencies, physical deformities and other creepy characteristics.


The exotic locale: Add even more excitement to your plotline by taking the audience out of the everyday comfort zone and into a foreign setting. Consider Indiana Jones, Laura Croft, Jason Borne, who were forced to face extreme temperatures, high seas and questionable countries in their quests for the bad guys.


The extreme situation: To increase the level of suspense, there is often a situation of large-scale, dire consequences at stake. If the hero does not overtake the villain, terrorists will take over the world. Millions of innocent people will perish. The earth will self-destruct. Etc. How many lives can your hero save in the end? What


The swift style: Thrillers are quick paced with equally crisp dialogue, but must include enough character development to ensure that your audience will care about the outcome. Reveal insights into your characters’ personalities every time they’re faced with a new challenge.


Before you begin your thriller, consider the above elements carefully. You may also want to check out recent best-seller lists to see what types of thrillers have been most popular lately. There are many different sub-genres, including crime, political, conspiracy, technological, erotic, horror, legal and medical, among others. Where will your plot fit in? Or, will it blend the best characteristics of a few sub-genres to help it stand out even more? Whatever the answer, writing a thriller can be just as exciting as reading or watching one.


EnjoyDaLife   EnjoyDaLife wrote
on 4/14/2012 12:44:34 PM
This is wonderful! it helped my writing like soo much! thx!!!

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Tips and advice on writing a thriller.