Writing a thriller can be an enriching experience. Still, it also involves creating complex and compelling characters, building suspense to engross readers, and layering story elements to drive the plot forward. If you’re looking to write a thriller, there are some specific things you need to do to make your book as suspenseful as possible.

This blog post will discuss essential writing strategies for thriller writers that will help you create an exciting and suspenseful story. Let’s get started.

Start with a bang

– The first few sentences of your story should be intense, captivating, and set the tone for the rest of the novel. This is where you should introduce a mysterious character or element that will leave readers wanting more.

– The first few sentences of your book should draw the reader in and give them just enough information to make them curious about what comes next. Consider starting with an unexpected or mysterious statement, or give the reader clues leading to a surprise twist later.

– A superb thriller must start at full throttle, making sure that every chapter builds upon each other as the plot intensifies so there is always something for your audience to look forward to. Ensure details about the protagonist’s goal are kept under wraps for now; let suspenseful conflict drive them forward so your audience never really knows how it’s going!

Establish a compelling protagonist

– Thrillers must have a protagonist that stands out from the crowd – they should feel troubled, strong, and inspired. Introduce readers quickly to your protagonist’s background while showing how they fit in with the plot of your story. This will draw readers in to follow their journey even more intently.

Create real stakes

– Make sure your novel’s conflict carries real consequences for your protagonist and their environment. Ensure that the reader understands what is at stake if they don’t succeed or win against their adversary – otherwise, they won’t be invested in the outcome of your story!

Create a believable villain that is worthy of fear

– Villains are essential to any story and can create danger and excitement. Create a believable villain yet also worthy of fear, as this will add tension to your story. Give the villain plenty of backstories, so readers understand why they act out in specific ways. This will make them more relatable.

Create characters with flaws

– While it’s essential for your protagonist and antagonist to have interesting backstories and complex personalities, they should also have flaws that add depth to their characters and tie into the plotlines throughout the novel. This will also help make your characters more relatable for readers who may relate to certain traits as they follow along with your story’s twists and turns.

Establish consequences and closure

– Establish positive (rewarding feats achieved by characters because of taking risks) and negative consequences (arising from wrongful choices under duress). The result should be clear-cut consequences demonstrating how avoiding risks has its price tag attached, while rationality doesn’t necessarily take precedence over emotions despite potentially rewarding outcomes!

Create unpredictable characters

– No matter how attractive a good character is, readers may become bored with them quickly if they behave predictably. Unpredictable behavior keeps things fresh by throwing off reader expectations or pitting them against one another! Developing characters who act unpredictably keeps readers on their toes as they try to adjust their opinions based on each twist and turn within your story’s events!

Incorporate sensory details into your writing

– Pay attention to the five senses – sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell – when describing your characters’ interactions with their environment. Providing sensory details such as sights and smells brings the reader closer to the story. It also helps give a more vivid picture of what’s going on and helps the reader better understand how your characters feel in their environment.

Use metaphors and symbols to explore a character’s inner journey

Metaphors and symbols are great tools for exploring a character’s inner journey. When used effectively, these literary devices can help you interestingly convey complex emotions while simultaneously conveying meaning on a deeper level. Think of how the physical environment affects your characters – then use metaphors and symbols to express your characters’ mental and emotional states.

Describe the setting in detail to create an immersive experience for readers

– Setting is vital to any story and can significantly create an immersive experience for readers. Take some time to describe the environment your characters are living in – from the sight and smell of it to how it affects their daily life. Creating vivid imagery with your words will help bring the setting alive.

Use setting to enhance plot points:

– Don’t forget about using setting to help create tension in certain scenes or reveal essential details about characters. This works exceptionally well if those details are revealed through conversations between two people rather than from direct exposition from one character telling another character something we already know about them!

Let your characters discover new things about their environment:

Whether it’s a place they’ve been to or somewhere entirely new, let them explore and discover things as they move through their environment. By allowing them to interact with objects, people, animals, and plants around them, you create a stronger connection to the setting. This can also help highlight your characters’ personalities by emphasizing what they notice or are drawn to in their surroundings.

Write suspenseful scenes that keep the reader on the edge of their seat

– To keep readers hooked, you must create an atmosphere of suspense and tension. This can be done by withholding information or introducing mysterious characters that confuse readers. Additionally, planting clues that hint at what’s to come will help build suspense throughout the story.

Keep your account engaging:

– Thrillers need plenty of action throughout, so ensure something always happens as the story progresses. Consider including obstacles or activities with high stakes every few chapters to maintain the intense energy of your novel. Also, think about introducing new characters and plot points; these will help bring new levels of excitement and tension into the mix.

Incorporate subplots:

– Subplots give your reader additional reasons to stay invested in the book by adding layers to the main storyline. Try incorporating themes such as betrayal or revenge into subplots that add complexity and intensity while tying them together with your main story arc at critical moments throughout the narrative.

Utilise subplots and backstories wisely:

– Don’t forget about using subplots and backstories strategically throughout your book. These provide further insight into the main character’s motivations and help illustrate the complexity of any situation by adding additional layers or dimensions beyond simply ‘good vs. bad.’

Use red herrings:

– Red herrings are when you provide false clues or hints to manipulate readers’ expectations about what will happen next in your story. These misdirections can create anticipation when all pieces come together at crucial moments within your narrative arc. They can also create confusion for those attempting to solve any “mystery” associated with it!

Leave clues along the way:

– To ensure a satisfying conclusion, it’s essential that clues or hints about what could happen next be sprinkled throughout all chapters of your book. This can come in various forms, such as stories/incidences related to earlier occurrences or mysterious objects/characters introduced without explanation (for example). Of course, these clues should only gradually reveal themselves as events progress, so nothing seems too apparent!

Use plot twists and unexpected events to keep readers guessing

– These elements add a layer of complexity to the story, often leading to more exciting conversations among readers. Make sure you plant clues along the way so it doesn’t seem entirely out of the left field when the plot twist is revealed.

Write from multiple perspectives:

– Consider exploring different points of view within your narrative structure. This allows multiple sides of any situation to be explored, creating more tension between characters and adding another layer of complexity to plot twists throughout the book.

Add surprises and twists strategically:

– Give your narrative unexpected turns which leave readers stunned but still make sense within the context of already-established plot points. Surprises like this can be jaw-droppingly intense when done right! A great example would be if someone was thought dead but turns suddenly alive again; characters aren’t always what they seem either!

Avoid predictable twists:

– Thrillers rely heavily on having unpredictable twists that take many unexpected turns while keeping readers engaged throughout their entire duration before reaching any closure at its conclusion. So be sure not to be too predictable when building upon those twists because it could ruin any suspenseful element within your work once unveiled.

– And when developing new ideas within this narrative framework, always consider what purpose is served by including such detail. Hence, prevent infodumps that do nothing to further storyline advancement.

A final important writing strategy is to use short chapters and cliffhangers:

– Breaking up longer sections into shorter chapters helps create more suspense as it serves as a mini-cliffhanger at each point where one chapter ends before leading onto another – plus, this technique offers excellent opportunities for plot twists too!

End on a high note with the unexpected outcome:

– Keeping with thrillers’ nature of surprise is essential also when concluding the book – avoid overly predictable endings (such as the evil antagonist gets his just deserts) because you want people to come back wanting more by having unpredictable outcomes affect the main character positively or negatively depending on the situation. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something surprising yet believable at the same time so everyone eagerly awaits a sequel 😉

Showcase your conflict resolution skills:

– A good thriller needs an excellent resolution where all the threads come together for an exciting finale—so don’t skimp out when writing these final chapters by simply tying up loose ends without leaving room for interpretations amongst differing opinions concerning how the conflict was ultimately resolved.

– The overall closure should be either bittersweet or ambiguous enough so viewers can interpret any applicable theme according to their existential context.


Writing stories is a craft that requires the right mix of creativity and finesse. As a writer, it’s important to understand all the components and techniques needed to bring your story to life. The essential elements outlined in this blog post are smart strategies that professional writers also use and what you need to make a story memorable.

Don’t be discouraged even if you’re struggling with putting these pieces together; your writing skills will improve with practice! Embrace feedback from friends and family members to help you improve, and above all else, find joy in your writing. With enough dedication and perseverance, the stories you create will soon mesmerize readers everywhere.

Hopefully, these writing tasks have provided some helpful ideas for crafting thrillers. May you find success and joy in all that you create. Best of luck!

If you’re working on your first novel and are looking for more help with your writing, please check out my other articles at

All the best,



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