Mystery/Thriller

5 Moral Dilemmas That Make Characters (& Stories) Better

Readers can’t resist turning pages when characters are facing tough choices. Use these 5 keys to weave moral dilemmas into your stories—and watch your fiction climb to new heights. This guest post is by Steven James. James is the award-winning, bestselling author of 12 novels. He enjoys dark roast coffee and...

5 Writing Tips to Creating a Page Turner

Nothing (other than fame and glory) makes an author happier than hearing from a reader who couldn’t put down their book. So what makes readers skip going to bed when they should and instead decide, Just one more chapter? My agent, Barbara Poelle, and I decided to sit down and distill...

Crafting Action For Thrillers

Hi All! Barbara Poelle again….remember yesterday how I was salivating for a new thriller author? I asked my author Nick Petrie (THE DRIFTER, Putnam, out this week!) how he hooked me in…here’s what he had to say. About Nicholas Petrie: He received his MFA in fiction from the University of Washington,...

5 Minutes to Writing Better Guns and Knives

A guest post by Benjamin Sobieck 1. Switchblades Are Out, Assisted Opening Knives Are In Switchblades (aka “automatic knives”) are still around, but they’ve grown gray hair and moved to Florida. How stereotypical. Since the mid-’90s, there’s a new whippersnapper on the block with all the benefits of switchblades and few...

David Morrell On the Key to Settings

In his CraftFest session at ThrillerFest, “Setting: How to Make Your Novel Go Places,” David Morrell (author of First Blood) riffed on how to produce fantastic settings that become characters in their own right.

10 Things Shakespeare Can Teach Us About Writing Thrillers

Conspiracy. Murder. Politics. Love. Sex. Ghosts. Pirates. Thrillers and the works of William Shakespeare may have more in common than you’d think. And, as author A.J. Hartley proved in his session “Cues From Shakespeare, the First Thriller Writer,” there’s a lot the bard can teach scribes about storytelling.

Horror, Mysteries and Setting: Playing on the Unexpected

Horror fiction, like its predecessor, Gothic fiction, is meant to frighten and unsettle. Gothic stories often feature mystery and the supernatural, the clash of good and evil, and a sense of doom and decay woven together with ghosts, family curses, madness, and desire. Gothic fiction is the first tradition where setting...

Bonus Mystery Kits Just for You

Our July Mystery Kit sold out in record time, but I was given a handful specifically for readers of the No Rules Blog—including you! If you like writing mystery or thriller novels, this collection has everything you need to get your story started, in shape and ready to send to agents...