Genres in Fiction- Part 3- thrillers 6 elements of and 5 tips for writing a thriller.

This post defines a thriller genre.  It is dark, engrossing, suspenseful and plot-driven, generating excitement, suspense, interest and exhilaration.  It shows eight types of thrillers and explains six elements of a thriller and five tips for writing the best thriller. 

Part 1 of this post touched on the structure and the 6 steps of mystery novels.  This post, the second part of it deals with crime fiction, sub-genres and the 5 steps for writing a good detective story.  Part 2 of this post explains crime fiction as a genre of fiction and its sub-genres.  Also, 5 elements of crime fiction and 5 tips for writing a good detective story.

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What is a Thriller?

  • It is a genre in literature.
  • Dark, engrossing, and suspenseful plot-driven stories.
  • Generate excitement, suspense, interest and exhilaration.
  • No comedy elements.

8 Types of Thrillers

  • Psychological thrillers
  • Action thrillers
  • Crime novels or crime fiction.
  • Political thrillers
  • Mystery thrillers or mystery novels
  • Spy thrillers, and
  • Science fiction thrillers.
  • Legal thrillers

6 Elements of a crime thriller

1.  A clear threat.

  • Any successful thriller has a clear and imposing threat.
  • What form that thriller takes place is decided by what thriller sub-genre the story falls.

2.  High stakes.

  • A good thriller keeps the thrillers on the edge.
  • For this, ensure the protagonists face massive problems and dire consequences if they fail to solve them.
  • Stakes would be raised, piling up the problems on top of one another, seemingly making the predicament unsolvable.

3.  Twists.

  • A good thriller has a storyline full of cliffhangers and plot twists.

4.  Dynamic characters.

  • Most thrillers have an archetypal good character and a bad character.  
  • The writer's job is to flesh out the characters and brainstorm their backstory and point of view.

5.  Memorable location.

  • A clear and detailed location is essential to writing a good thriller.
  • Can explore numerous physical locations and periods.
  • You should be sure that each place feels full and lived in.
  • Readers should be able to picture the physical environments in which your actions unfold.

6.  Action.

  • It should include a fair amount of actions -adventure elements, not violence of pyrotechnics.  
  • The important thing is to keep your storyline moving and have dynamic movement from the first page til the last.

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5 Tips for writing a gripping thriller.

1.  Make sure your main character is compelling.

  • The conflict in a thriller is not like a good guy versus a bad guy.
  • In a good thriller, the protagonists must be strong and skilled to overcome obstacles.
  • A flawed main character will increase your thriller's tension and stake.
  • Before writing a thriller, brainstorm the protagonist's back story.

2.  The opening scene should have plenty of action. 

  • The readers should be on the edge of the seat from page one onwards.  
  • Hook the readers with instant action, then fill in the characters and storyline info later.

3.  Create an exciting villain.

  • The protagonists should be flawed and complex.
  • The central villain should not be pure evil.  They should be motivated by their own twisted inner logic.
  • Readers are more likely to be engaged in your villains' story and character development if they can recognise seeds of themselves in your antagonists.

4.  Build obstacles for your protagonists.

 5.  Add plenty of plot twists and turning points.

  • More than any other genre, thriller novels need to contain plenty of plot twists, turning points, and cliffhangers to make it a page-turner.

This post is 3 out of 10 of Blog Chatter Half Marathon 2023.