•  · 5 friends

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 

Watch some of the best webinars from the Summer Festival of Writing now free as part of your membership. We’re finding a permanent home for these on the website, but for now – simply login, head to ‘My Jericho’ and see ‘Summer Festival Replays’ listed in their original format for you to enjoy. 




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. 



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.  


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. 



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. 

Complete Novel Mentoring (Discounts available for members) 

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

0 0 0 0 0 0
  • 562
Comments (0)
Featured Posts
5 Things To Know About Book Publicists
So, you’re getting published. Your agent has persuaded a publisher to take on your book – job done, right? Wrong (and a good thing too, otherwise this blog post would be woefully short)!   There are a lot of people involved in turning your manuscript into a book – and to make sure that your book sells. One of the departments that you might not know much about is the publicity department.   I’m privileged to have a PR director from Penguin Random House as a mentor, and I’d like to share with you 5 things every author needs to know about book publicists.   1) They help to determine whether your book is brought on-board.   Before purchasing your book, a publishing house will hold an acquisi
We're in the Mood for Romance
We at Jericho Writers know how important it is to spend some quality time with your significant other this Valentine’s day…and by significant other, we do of course mean your ever-dependable manuscript. After facing one another across a dimly lit table (it’s surprising how much light laptops can create), you might find that the passion you’ve been holding onto will reignite and boldly take the form of poetic prose.  On the other hand, you may also find yourself staring into the abyss wondering “Can we go the whole hog, or has the time come to start a new chapter?” If that’s the case, then worry not my friends! We have the tools to help you figure out your next best steps. You can check out