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How to Write a Psychological Thriller

By Tabitha Levin

There are many different types of thriller stories, ranging from action adventure, mystery, crime, courtroom, and even paranormal. But there is one genre of this type that is different from the rest because it focuses more on the emotional aspects of the story, rather than the action. And that type of story is the psychological thriller.

Step 1: Write Your Outline

There are many different opinions on how to write a psychological thriller, but probably the most common is that you should start with an outline since it gives you a road map to adhere to when you are writing.

The reason that this is important for this type of book, is that you need to get the suspense elements right, and having a guideline of what you want to achieve will help you keep on track.

Step 2: Have Good Clear Characters

Unlike other genres, you need to make sure that you define your characters completely in your story, since most of the plot will revolve around their emotional reactions to certain situations. Are they weak and run at the first sign of danger? Do they have a past issue with something that is now haunting them again?  Explaining not only how they react, but why, is the key to making them real.

The same goes for the baddie of the story. Since the antagonist is usually the one heaping the emotional stress on the protagonist, you need to make them clear in their intentions as well. Are they doing it for revenge? Fun? Because they know something about the hero that they want to reveal to the world?

Often you’ll find that the good guy and bad guy are emotional opposites of each other. One will be strong and resourceful, and the other weak but single minded. By the end, the hero will usually always overcome whatever issues they have and be able to beat the antagonist at their own game.

Step 3: Get Into Your Characters Minds

Since most of the fear and suspense will be happening in your characters mind, you need to let the reader see this fear that the character is experiencing. If the character jumps at the sound of a branch snapping, you need to make the reader feel that same terror with your writing. This takes practice to get right, but slowing down the action and focusing on every gust of wind, every hair that is sticking up on the back of the characters neck, will help create that mood. []Thriller stories, especially psychological driven ones, are increasingly popular with readers and being able to thrill and excite your audience is the key to becoming a successful writer in this genre.

Tabitha writes short thrillers (amongst other things). You can find out more about her books at her website:

Article Source: [] How to Write a Psychological Thriller

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