How to Write a Chiller Thriller by Sally Spedding

J. L. Harland • June 22nd, 2020

Sally Spedding is a creative writing teacher, poet, and author of several paranormal, psychological and historical thrillers. As such, she is qualified to write this non-fiction book as a guide for others aspiring to write in the genre.

How to Write a Chiller Thriller is a comprehensive guide to writing the sort of book that keeps readers wanting more. We have participated in two of Sally Spedding’s workshops and came away full of ideas and inspiration. Throughout this book her voice as an experienced tutor is obvious. As she says herself, she’s ‘been around the block a few times’ so knows about writing, and publishing and gives sound advice to readers. She is aware of the stepping stones needed to establish a story and characters who leap off the pages. This guide is almost like a mini writing course and it could be used with writing groups to develop aspects of the craft such as setting and character.

The book consists of fifty-five chapters, some of them short, covering everything from Sally’s Twelve Commandments for writing mystery thrillers, to looking at reference materials to study further. The chapters are peppered with exercises and examples using extracts from her own work and that of other authors writing in the same genre. To gain the most from the book it is best to work through rather than just dip into sample chapters. It’s been designed for continuity and each chapter builds upon the previous one to give the reader a template to follow.

From generating the idea for your story to aspects like writing the dreaded synopsis, approaching agents and publishers and even scrutinising contracts, this book is a mine of useful information. Much of the advice is generic and could be applied to whatever style of writing you prefer. If you want to write a chiller, a story that will keep readers awake at night with their toes tingling, then work your way through the exercises.

As a member of Crime Cymru as well as CWA this is an author who knows her stuff and her guide to writing is a useful addition to your reference shelf.

How to Write a Chiller Thriller is published by Compass. Sally has written several novels, published by Sharpe Books, as well as short stories and poetry.

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