Creative Writing

On Writing a Thriller

For kids from about eleven up (genre – Crime Fiction)

Every writer is different so follow your own leads; follow your own heart and trust your own methods of creating a story.

On Setting: Unless you have another idea start with a place – one you know well. One you’re actually living in at the time is a boon. You can add atmosphere and detail that ring true.

On Character: Add your main characters or flesh out the characters that pop into your head.

You need a likeable central character and a villain worthy of the name (after all with no villain there’d be no crime fiction).

Try giving him/her animal like features if you want to. A wolf in sheep’s clothing is an idea. Add a hint of wickedness – the glint in an eye, the hint of a sneer, or you might try a sly fox or a bird of prey hiding in the shadows secretly laughing (nastily) at the unsuccessful efforts of the hero. You might try the same for your hero if it adds to the story.

Whether writing in the hero or villain, ask yourself:

There are many other questions you might ask to flesh out a character, their loves, hates and fears are just a few. But the above list will help drive the plot and make the way ahead a little clearer. 

There is no short answer to playing out a story but here are a few things to keep in mind. Be one step ahead of the reader. Give little hints about what is to come (it is called foreshadowing). Create tension. Create mood. Use good dialogue.

On plot: let the characters lead but keep in mind the need for three or four incidents that can be played out like a game of football with the hero holding the ball at times and then the villain taking it away. Of course we know who must end up with the ball!

Keep on writing every day until you have an ending you’re happy with. Complete the first draft and then take another look.

Does the beginning hook the reader? Is the end satisfying? Read through; read aloud; edit the bits that aren’t working. Refine your work until you are ready for another editor to look at it. Be prepared for more work.

How to put up with all this rewriting and refining?
Learn to love words. Learn to love the business of stringing words together to make good sentences. Learn to love the flow of language.  

Good luck and happy writing!