Top 10 tips for writing a spine-tingling thriller by How To Fall author Jane Casey

Most Popular

When fifteen-year-old Freya is found dead in a lake, everyone assumes she committed suicide. However, her cousin Jess thinks there's more to the story than meets the eye, and sets about investigating the mysterious circumstances around the death herself.

She starts to ask questions - but everyone knows questions can be dangerous...

Jess soon discovers that Freya had her fair share of secrets, and everyone around her seems to be hiding something. Will she uncover the truth about her cousin's death?

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
How to fall by Jane Casey

If you've always dreamt of getting into writing, but aren't sure how to get your twisty-turny thriller from pen to paper, check out author Jane Casey's Top 10 tips to get you started...

10. Before you do anything else, you need your Mystery, and it’s got to be a good one. When it comes to mysteries, you should go big or go home. Murder is always going to be more interesting than bike theft. So kill someone off. Try thinking ‘what if?’ What if you were new in town and no one would talk to you because you reminded them too much of your dead cousin? And what if that was because her death wasn’t an accident? Now you're off and running.

Most Popular

9. If you’ve got a mystery, you need someone to investigate it. Let’s call her the Heroine. She has to be a go-out-and-take-charge kind of person, not afraid to ask questions or take risks. She must also be quite nosy. I find it helps if she has a sense of humour. You can make her intensely clever, stupidly brave or just lucky, but she’s got to be the only person who can work out what really happened and who’s to blame . . .

8. . . . despite the fact that she is intermittently distracted by her Love Interest. It goes without saying that all heroines need a love interest – preferably one who is a little bit dangerous and a lot hot. Bonus: you, the writer, get to spend a long time researching beautiful boys to find someone who could play the love interest in the film. This is important, essential preparation for writing your thriller, and not time-wasting.

7. The only thing better than a hot guy? TWO hot guys. The Love Triangle is a tried and tested formula, but it works. You have to make sure they’re evenly matched, though, which may require more research into attractive males (try not to mind). Bella had to choose between Jacob and Edward, but that was never really a fair fight. Two very different but equally appealing guys, on the other hand, make for fun. At least from the writer’s point of view. Your heroine may never forgive you for making her choose.

6. Friends – useful for fashion tips, finding clues and coming to the rescue. Also a good option for amusing dialogue. At the very least, they can encourage the heroine to forget about her love life for a minute and concentrate on the mystery.

How to Fall author Jane Casey on writing crime thrillers

5. Fabulous Clothes. Not for you, sadly, because you’re just the writer, but definitely for your heroine. Everyone knows it’s easier to solve crimes when you look amazing.

4. Some excellent Villains who enjoy trading insults with your heroine but really do have the potential to do her harm. You’ll need plenty of them. They’ll be very useful when you get to Tip 2.

3. Adults who, crucially, lose track of the heroine whenever she needs to go out and fight crime. If you have a teenage heroine, there will be parents, or guardians, or grown-ups of some kind who are supposed to care where she is and what she’s doing. You can make them nice or nasty but it really helps, plot-wise, if you can make them the type who are easily distracted.

2. A Red Herring. That outcome you were expecting? I lied. This is pretty much the point of writing thrillers. Apart from . . .

1. A Killer Ending. By all means take the phrase literally. Danger is fun. Try not to kill off your heroine if there’s going to be a sequel. If someone has to die, and it can’t be the villain – well, you do have a spare love interest at this point. But remember, once they’re gone, they’re gone. If they turn into a guardian angel, you’re writing a paranormal romance, not a thriller, and there’s a whole other set of top tips for that.

So what do you think about Jane's tips and have you read How To Fall yet?

Comments please...

Hot new reads for February: Emily McKay, Hannah Harrington, Jane Casey and more...

The Perks of Being a Wallflower author Stephen Chbosky talks sequels, music and making movies with Emma Watson 

Geek Girl - The hottest, funniest book about how to be a model

Read Next: