How To Write a Chiller Thriller

How To Write a Chiller Thriller

This book will help you create chiller thrillers with memorable characters and truly chilling plots.


Have you dreamt of becoming a thriller writer but not dared to do so because of lack of self-belief, or the necessary time, or both? Are you also a thriller reader who has been disappointed by the sameness and lack of ambition in what you've read? If so, this book will help you create chiller thrillers with a difference, with memorable characters and truly chilling plots, drawing not only from the past and present, but the future too. From horror and the paranormal, to equally disturbing scientific and hi-tech developments. Bravery is the key. So, come on board!


In How To Write a Chiller Thriller Sally Spedding manages to coach, motivate and entertain at the same time. I found the combination to be wonderful and I am ready to (try) find the time to write the next great chiller thriller, or at least one that isn't horrible. This book offers ideas and suggestions based openly and honestly on Spedding's own experience yet stopped well short of being a "do as I say" guide to writing. In fact, she emphasizes from the beginning to be who you are and write what you want (all such statements come with qualifiers, of course, but the point stands) as long as it is from your passion. I found many of the exercises and examples very useful and am planning to take some time this spring and work my way more methodically through the book. Who knows, maybe next year at this time I will be asking for reviews! Or not, but I'll certainly enjoy trying to get to that point. I would highly recommend this to aspiring writers within the chiller thriller genre (kinda a hybrid of horror and thriller, she defines both terms at the beginning) and I also believe the tips and ideas are valid across genres for the most part so my recommendation carries over to any writer of fiction. ~ Earl Messer, NetGalley

Fun, cool exercises... entertaining and useful. ~ Les de Lioncourt, NetGalley/Goodreads

This book is full of terrific ideas and has fueled my imagination! I now need to settle down and choose which idea I want to develop into my story! ~ Janette Forman , NetGalley

Good practical handbook for aspiring authors of thrillers, in the broadest sense of the definition, but with a bias for horror (both supernatural and not). Lots of good advice and solid examples. Recommended. ~ Davide Mana, NetGalley

5 out of 5 stars; How to Write a Chiller Thriller sounds like something like a Stephen King or Hitchcock or Poe how-to guide for writers. However, it is much more contemporary and more example based than a standard concocted formula for authors of this genre. I have not read fictional work of Sally Spedding but reading through this book which I would much rather call an enjoyable guidebook, her candid fails and successes do more than hook. After a couple of pages, I actually had to stop and get a pen and diary to note down points! She starts with her twelve commandments, starting from the first; Actions first, explanations later to how the protagonist is portrayed to the plot and relationship between the writing and the writer. Spedding's guide is kinesthetic. She includes not just paragraphs or pages but chapters of her own work and some of others. She includes many references of authors and their works... so many that I have listed them to be over 65 ( it's taken up 4 sides of my journal). She mentions Mark Z Danielewski's House of Leaves repeatedly and reverently as her go-to book for inspiration in the genre (This is definitely making it to my reading list of this year). Moreover, she includes tasks with each chapter for the reader to attempt and questions, lists of ideas and activities. I don't want to summarise the book here but to give a preview, the book sequentially deals with the treatment of characters, psychology, layering, plot structures and many more. The chapters on point of view and examples of how shifting point of view from first to third person, from limited to omniscient changes the "feel" of the book. She encourages the reader/ author to experiment and scout around to find their voice. She gives practical advice like limiting chapters to 20 pages and why she thinks that should be so, how to build tension, keeping a balance between under-doing and overdoing suspense, avoiding putting in coincidences and cliches, and how to properly address prologues and epilogues. Endings, titles and synopses are key to the success of any book and Spedding doesn't shy away from what she thinks. There are things she says that work and things that an author should shy away from at all costs. There are also specific instructions on how one should edit their work (this reminded me of the rubrics and instructions that I used to give my students- a first aid kit for writing). Sometimes I like to copy word for word lines from a book for inspiration or to come back to. Below are some that I extracted from this book. 'But it's all been done,' you might complain. Not true. The key is passion. Your passion. Like people. even the most beautiful landscape or building can hide a dark side; be deadly dangerous. Rejoice in the best, but remember the worst so you won't make the same mistakes. ... setting can often be a novel's' main character_ for better or worse_ even shaping its human characters' psyches. If the setting is right, your characters will be in the right place. What I really like about this book is that it is not vague. I have read books on writing that beat about the bush before finally getting to some point or the other, or depend on the reader's inference rather than stating clearly the things that are truly helpful. Spedding is concise. She is blunt. She is clear. And she is encouraging. For more book reviews visit: ~ Zahra Ammar,

HOW TO WRITE A CHILLER THRILLER Review by Steve Bowkett of NAWG Link magazine Tackling a new genre can be both a daunting and an exciting prospect. It goes without saying that attempting something new to add to your writing repertoire requires an interest in and some knowledge of the genre itself. But what then? Sally Spedding’s How to Write a Chiller Thriller will lead you competently through the process from first thoughts to final pitch. A practical handbook broken down into 55 bite-size chapters that take a no-nonsense approach to the business of mastering the craft, at the same time Sally’s style is informal and friendly, making the book very readable. Useful tips abound, together with carefully structured exercises designed to challenge your imagination and guide you with confidence towards constructing a plot that works, settings that convince and characters that are believable and vivid. The exercises are supported by examples from Sally’s own work and that of others and the whole highly enjoyable course of lessons is augmented by further notes on editing, preparing the text for submission, writing a persuasive blurb, looking at contracts and how to support your publisher by taking a hand yourself in promoting the book. While the focus throughout is on thriller writing, a great deal of the advice is equally applicable to other genres and to novel writing in general. Highly recommended. How to Write a Chiller Thriller is published by Compass Books. ISBN 978-1-78279-172-0. Price: UK£14.99/US$24.95 See special New Year e-book offer on Amazon during January and February. ~ Steve Bowkett, NAWG Link magazine

How To Write A Chiller Thriller comes from the Mistress of the Macabre herself, Sally Spedding author of several spine-chilling novels and this how-to book is like sitting in on one of her roller-coaster workshops. There’s so much information here that – unlike a workshop – you have a full set of notes to take away with you and inwardly digest at your leisure. Sally Spedding tells it like it is and if you want to learn about writing for the chiller-thriller genre then look no further than this 250-page instruction manual of what to avoid if you want to get published! All the pit-falls are listed and there are dozens of exercises to help hone your talent, correct your mistakes, and write a novel that any publisher would shiver to read. Sally Spedding has the Chill-Factor – let her help you develop your own. Highly recommended. ~ Suzanne Ruthven, Amazon and Goodreads

How to Write a Chiller Thriller by Sally Spedding was received , who doesn't want to write the ultimate novel? Some have given it a shot and some still only dream. To write the novel this book gives a person some pointers ( didn't figure that out from the title)? Each chapter has writing exercises to help aspiring or established writers along as well many have as examples of the chapters theme; the author tends to act as if publishers like "new blood" and experimentation, as a writer I disagree, it seems publishers choose the same writers over and over with rarely any experimentation, thus self publishing, be it good or bad, has exploded and traditional publishing houses are grasping for continued relevance, that being said it had nothing really to do with this book review. If you or someone you know aspires to be a fiction writer, you cannot go wrong buying this book and learning some of the craft. 4 Stars ~ Jeffrey Wells, NetGalley - Goodreads -!How-to-Write-a-Chiller-Thriller-by-Sally-Spedding/c1q8z/577d805e0cf21e6e1ebbffdb

This is a good reference book for writers who are considering writing a thriller. But I think it also helps with story structure in a book that has conflict and suspense. I will definitely use this as a go to when I'm feeling stuck in my writing. ~ Rosemary Rey, Goodreads

Insightful, informative and engaging. A really good book. I loved it and would recommend it to everyone. The book is a must read for every one learning to write. ~ Rubina Bashir, Booklove

Sally Spedding
Sally Spedding Sally was born by the sea near Porthcawl to a Dutch father and Welsh mother. She trained in sculpture both at Manchester College of Art and ...
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