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Genre Focus: Thriller and Suspense

How to write a killer thriller

I’ve handed the newsletter reigns this week to our in-house bestselling thriller expert, Holly Seddon. We have tips for building suspense, mastering the genre and creating brilliant bad-guys – as well as an exciting announcement for members.  


MEMBERSHIP: Webinar replays from the summer have now landed 


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Spotlight

MASTERCLASS: DOs and DON’Ts for strong pace (FREE for members)

 

No one knows how to keep a reader on the edge of their seat like Eve Seymour. Join her for this masterclass on how to maintain the pace in your writing. 

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BLOG: How to write a thriller 


Covering everything from character through to tips for self-editing, this article covers the seven things you need to know about writing in the thriller genre.  


READ NOW 



UPDATE: Meet the Jericho Writers team! 


Behind these emails sit real-life people. Find out more about the individuals that make up Jericho Writers on our newly-updated Meet the Team page. 


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How to write a believable baddie (that people will root for) - by Holly Seddon

 

A key component of every thriller is a really good ‘baddie’. Or, if you want to be posh, an excellent antagonist. But for readers to really buy your bad guy or gal, they have to believe in them.  

  • Reasons: Whatever your antagonist’s predilection, they need to have a reason for it. It can be a warped reason that only makes sense to them and their world view. But a really complex and believable baddie will have reasons that we find ourselves contemplating and often agreeing with.
    See Kilmonger from Black Panther, or Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley.  
  • Back story: Killers, con artists, even cat burglars, don’t just appear out of thin air. Even if you don’t include most of their backstory in the final draft, spend some time fleshing it out for yourself. Get to know them, the way you do a protagonist. Where did they grow up? What dreams did they have? What was their final straw?
    See Walter White from Breaking Bad or Joe from You by Caroline Kepnes.  
  • Avoid stereotypes: Every principal character deserves to be nuanced and multi-layered – a baddie is no exception. Give them contradictions and grey areas, play with their language patterns and add interesting hobbies. Make them as whole as you can, and they will make your story whole in return.  
    See Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Lecter or Patrick Bateman from Brett Easton Ellis’s American Psycho.


Who is the best book baddie you’ve read? Tell us your favourites on Townhouse (and you can join for free if you haven’t already!)  


Holly S x 


Plus, don't miss: 


WEBINAR: Ask the Agents Anything (FREE for members) 

9 October: In this session, you’ll have the chance to ask two leading literary agents in the USA anything, from the perfect pitch and what they’re looking for, to what the North American market is looking like. 


Manuscript Assessment  (Discounts available for members) 

Our most popular editorial service matches you to your dream editor and gives you tailored feedback on your work. It doesn’t get better than that. 


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Write or edit your book alongside one of our expert mentors, including multi-bestselling authors and commissioning editors. 


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