To write a psychological thriller takes a deft and creative mind. The reader must be engaged and thrilled – even if they are disgusted.

Therefore, the writer must take extra effort to include specific elements to ensure the goal is achieved – be suspenseful.

A psychological thriller exploits and exposes their distorted mental perceptions, and their unstable or delusional nature.

It is a thrilling place to be, which puts psychological thrillers on the rise.

The success of novels like

  • The Girl on the Train,
  • Gone Girl and
  • Before I Go To Sleep

have made it into a hot genre. Publishers are actively seeking books that fall in the category of psychological thriller  – sometimes referred to as domestic suspense.

1. Make your characters real

Not just the setting needs to be familiar, your characters should be too. Create characters similar to the people who live next door, your friends, or family, even your spouse!  Your protagonist needs to be believable.

2. Give your characters flaws

Your characters need to be believable which means they also need to have flaws. Make them insecure or jealous; with an alcohol problem or as compulsive liars. They might be harboring a dark secret. Your characters needs grit; an internal problem as well as external . Show your reader how they confront their demons.

Get inside your characters’ heads; it is  a psychological thriller.

3. Give your book twists – lots of them

The twist is a vital component of the psychological thriller. It is not wrong to give it an incredible twist halfway through. Writing a brilliant twist can be hard. A great twist will guarantee that readers will recommend your book to others – and come back for more.

4. Scare your readers – give them goosebumps

Your story MUST be scary. For your book to hit the charts as a psychological thriller, your reader must feel sick with tension, desperate to know what will happen. Avoid the obvious: footsteps following your character through dark streets, phones ringing in the night with no one at the other end. Think about what scares you. Then think beyond that. Make your characters suffer…and your readers squirm.

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“Linda has published sixteen books. She blogs about the publishing world, posts useful tips on the challenges a writer faces, including marketing and promoting your work, how to build your online platform, how to get reviews and how to self-publish.”