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Do you have a story to tell? Are you passionate about a topic you want to share with the world? If so, then you should consider writing a book! It can be an enriching experience, and it can also be a great way to build your brand and reach new audiences.

In this blog post, we will discuss the most critical steps involved in starting a book. We’ll also discuss why these steps are essential and how they can help you achieve your goals. So if you’re ready to start writing, read on!

1. Start with an idea – a problem that needs to be solved or a story that needs to be told

Before starting to write a thriller, the groundwork is to develop an interesting and original plot, create believable and compelling characters, establish the tone of your story, and build a suspenseful atmosphere.

What is your story about?

What problem do you want to solve? Once you have an idea, the next step is to start fleshing it out and making it into a story.

Why is this step necessary? Because this step is critical in ensuring that you have a book’s direction and purpose.

How can you make sure your idea is strong?

First, think about what makes your idea unique. What will readers get from reading your book that they can’t get from any other book?

Second, consider how you can develop your idea into a full-fledged story. What are the plot points, the characters, and the setting?

Answering these questions is essential in taking your idea from concept to completion. Then, with a strong foundation, you’ll be well on your way to writing a thriller that will get readers hooked!

2. Create a protagonist character or group of characters who are facing a problem

As you create your main character, ensure your readers can admire them for something and be connected to them. Without that, there isn’t much of a story. This step is about creating the main character facing a problem.

This problem can be anything from investigating a crime to being caught in the middle of a conspiracy. It’s up to you to decide what kind of conflict your characters will face.

3. Set up the stakes – what’s at risk if the problem isn’t solved

The stakes are what drive the plot forward and create tension. Without them, your story will feel flat and uninteresting. There are a few ways to raise the stakes, but one of the most effective is to have something happen that changes your protagonist’s goal.

For example, if your main character is trying to save her brother from a kidnapper, but then the kidnapper kills him, she must try to keep her brother’s soul from going to hell.

Not only does this raise the stakes, but it also changes the genre of your story from suspense to horror.

Some examples of high stakes for a protagonist:

They prevent a natural disaster, save the world from evil forces, rescue hostages or prisoners of war, or stop a crime syndicate from taking over the city.

Of course, you don’t need to have life-or-death stakes to write an exciting story. However, plenty of lower stakes can still generate tension and conflict, such as winning a prestigious award, reuniting a family after being estranged for many years, or recovering a lost treasure.

So take some time to brainstorm what sort of conflict will make for an exciting story, and ensure that your protagonist has a personal stake in the outcome.

4. Introduce the antagonist – the person or force trying to prevent your protagonist from solving the problem

One of the most important aspects of writing a thriller is creating suspense. One of the most effective ways of doing that is by introducing the antagonist early in the story.

Doing this lets readers know that someone or something is working against your characters and that they will have to overcome obstacles to reach their goals.

You can do this in several ways, but one of the most effective is using flashbacks. By introducing the antagonist in a flashback, you create suspense and give readers insight into what motivates them. This can make your story even more suspenseful, as readers will be eager to discover how you will resolve the conflict.

Establish the tone of your story

You can set the tone for the novel in several ways, but one of the most important is the opening.

The opening paragraphs are your chance to capture your reader’s attention and draw them into the story. You want to create an intriguing and engaging tone while setting the stage for the rest of the story.

Depending on what you want to achieve with your story, you may want to consider different tones. If you’re aiming for a light and entertaining read, you’ll likely want a more upbeat tone. If you’re aiming for something more serious or dark, you’ll need to set a different tone in the opening. Whatever style you choose, make sure it’s consistent throughout the story.

Not sure what tone you want for your story?

It might help to imagine how you would tell the story to a friend over coffee. Would you be serious, light-hearted, or sarcastic?

Your narrative style may evolve throughout the writing process, but once you have settled on a tone, make sure your words and actions reflect that tone. For example, if your story is about a serious topic, use appropriate language – avoid using jokes or making light of the situation.

Create a suspenseful atmosphere

There are several vital elements that you can focus on to create a suspenseful atmosphere. First, make sure that your setting lends itself to suspense and intrigue. A dark and stormy night, an abandoned warehouse, or a remote cabin in the woods can all be great places to heighten the tension.

Second, try to use as much sensory detail as possible in your descriptions to bring the reader into the story. The sights, sounds, smells, and even textures of your scene can all contribute to an unsettling feeling of unease.

Finally, don’t forget about your characters’ internal states as well. Be sure to show their fear, anxiety, and paranoia through their thoughts and actions.

5. Write a catchy opening line that will hook your readers

The next step is to start writing! This is where the real work begins. But don’t worry. If you follow the ground steps, you’ll be well on your way to writing a thriller that will keep readers hooked from beginning to end.

The first line, the first sentence, the first paragraph, and the first few pages of your book is essential because it’s the reader’s first impression of your story. It needs to be exciting and engaging, so they’ll want to continue reading.

One way to do this is by starting with a strong hook that will leave the reader wanting more. For example, if your book is a thriller, you could start with a scene full of suspense, like discovering a body or a child missing.

Here are a few of the most famous opening lines in a thriller

Ed McBain’s “There’s a new killer in town,” Evan Hunter’s “Sometimes the first victim is the luckiest,” and George Orwell’s “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” Orwell’s suspenseful opening line sets the tone for the rest of the book. The line implies that there is something wrong with the world, that things are not as they should be.

Another way to write a catchy opening line is by starting in the middle of the action. Then, introduce the protagonist into the action (don’t describe their looks at this point, only their actions and what they say). This will immediately grab the reader’s attention and make them want to discover what’s happening.

6. Develop your plot and keep your readers engaged by creating suspense and drama

One of the most important things to remember when creating suspenseful plots in a thriller is that the reader needs to feel like they are constantly on edge, never quite knowing what will happen next.

There are a few ways to create suspenseful plots

Once you have established the central conflict, you can introduce red herrings and false leads. These can mislead your readers and make them second-guess what they think is going on.

Introducing a problem or conflict early on in the story will make the reader want to find out how you will resolve the situation.

Another essential element of suspense is unpredictability. Your readers should never be quite sure what’s going to happen next. So keep them guessing by surprising them with unexpected twists and turns.

Cliffhangers are perhaps the most obvious way to keep readers suspended. By ending each chapter or section on a cliffhanger, you ensure that readers will want to keep reading to find out what happens next. Just be sure not to overdo it – if every chapter ends on a cliffhanger, it can start to feel forced and contrived.

Other ways to maintain suspense

Keep complicating the plot. When the reader thinks they have a handle on what is going on, introduce a new twist to throw them off balance. You can do this by introducing new characters, revealing hidden agendas, or anything else that changes the status quo.

You can also create suspense by withholding information from the reader. For example, you could withhold the killer’s identity as a mystery novel until the end.

Setting up a writing schedule:

Some people find that having planned writing sessions help them to focus and produce their best work, while others prefer a more flexible approach. Ultimately, what works best will vary from person to person, so it’s important to experiment until you find a routine that suits you.

First, be realistic about how much writing time you can dedicate each week. It’s easy to overestimate. If you’re a person with many other commitments, don’t try to write for two hours every day – start by writing for 30 minutes or an hour each day instead. You can always increase the amount of time you spend on each writing session as your skills improve.

Conclusion

These are the most critical steps to take when starting a book, but many other considerations go into writing a successful story. However, if you focus on these vital elements, you will be on your way to creating a page-turner that will keep readers coming back for more.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to us below. If you’re working on your first novel and are looking for more help with your writing, please check out my other articles at https://ullahakanson.com/blog/

Happy writing 🙂

Ulla

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