Thriller Editing: The Key To Crafting A Page Turning Suspense Story

thriller editing

Thriller writing is a genre that is all about creating an atmosphere of uncertainty and tension. It is a style of writing that is designed to keep the reader guessing, to keep them on the edge of their seat, and to keep them turning the pages. The goal of a thriller is to create a story that is filled with suspense, tension, and uncertainty, and to keep the reader engaged until the very end. To achieve this, a skilled editor is essential.

A good thriller editor will understand the elements that make a thriller story work, and will be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a manuscript. They will be able to help the author to create a story that is well-structured, believable, and emotionally engaging. They will also be able to help the author to create a story that is exciting, suspenseful, and that keeps the reader guessing until the very end.

A thriller editor will be able to help the author to create a story that is fast-paced, with plenty of action and plot twists to keep the reader engaged. They will be able to help the author to create complex and well-rounded characters, with clear motivations and goals. They will be able to help the author to create a climax that is intense and climactic, and a resolution that is satisfying and makes sense in light of the events that have come before. They will be able to help the author to create a story that is well-researched and believable, with a sense of realism that makes the reader feel as though they are living the story alongside the characters.

In short, a thriller editor is an essential part of the thriller writing process. They can help to turn a good story into a great one, and to create a story that will keep the reader engaged and guessing until the very end. With the right editor, a thriller can be turned into a page-turner that keeps the reader guessing until the very end.

Focus on Pacing

Pacing is a crucial element of thriller writing, as it helps to keep the reader engaged and on the edge of their seat. A good thriller editor will be able to identify scenes or sections of the manuscript that feel slow or bogged down, and will work with the author to either trim or rewrite them to keep the story moving forward.

For example, if there is a scene that is meant to be suspenseful but is dragging on for too long, the editor may suggest cutting or condensing it to increase the tension. Similarly, if there is a section of the story that is focused on character development but is slowing down the pace, the editor may suggest moving that information to a different part of the story or incorporating it into the dialogue to keep the story moving forward.

Additionally, a good thriller editor will also be able to identify opportunities to increase the pacing, such as by adding in more action or plot twists. For instance, if the story is focused on a chase scene but it is not as intense as it could be, the editor may suggest adding obstacles or increasing the stakes to make it more thrilling. Or if the story is building up to a major reveal but the tension is not high enough, the editor may suggest adding in more clues or red herrings to keep the reader guessing.

In short, a good thriller editor will be able to help the author to create a story that is fast-paced and filled with action and plot twists. They will be able to identify areas that slow down the pacing and work with the author to either trim or rewrite them, and also identify opportunities to increase the pacing and make the story more thrilling. Through this way, the editor will help to create a story that keeps the reader engaged and on the edge of their seat until the very end.

Character Development

Character development is another crucial element of thriller writing. The characters in a thriller should be complex and well-rounded, with clear motivations and goals. A good thriller editor will be able to identify areas where the characters are not fully developed or where their actions are not consistent with their personalities. They will work with the author to ensure that each character is distinct and that their actions make sense in the context of the story.

For example, if a character's behavior seems out of character or inconsistent with their background, the editor may suggest revisions to their backstory or personality to make their actions more believable. Similarly, if a character's motivation is not clear, the editor may suggest adding details to their backstory or dialogue to make their goal more understandable to the reader.

A good thriller editor will also be able to help the author to create characters that are relatable and emotionally engaging. This can be achieved by giving the characters distinct personalities and flaws, as well as by showing how they react to the events of the story. For instance, if the story is focused on a character who is trying to survive in a dangerous situation, the editor may suggest adding scenes where the character expresses fear, doubt or desperation to make them more relatable to the reader.

Additionally, a good thriller editor will also be able to help the author to create characters that are distinct and memorable. This can be achieved by giving the characters unique traits, habits or catchphrases that make them stand out. For example, if the story has several characters who are in law enforcement, the editor may suggest giving one of them a particular style of speaking or a unique way of solving crimes to make them more distinct and memorable.

In short, a good thriller editor will be able to help the author to create complex and well-rounded characters that are distinct, relatable, and emotionally engaging. They will be able to identify areas where the characters are not fully developed and work with the author to ensure that each character is believable and consistent in their actions, and also help the author to create memorable and distinct characters that will stand out in the readers mind.

Climax and Resolution

The climax and resolution are crucial elements of thriller writing. A good thriller editor will be able to help the author to create a climax that is intense and climactic, and a resolution that is satisfying and makes sense in light of the events that have come before.

The climax is the point of highest tension in the story, where all the conflicts and plot threads come to a head. A good thriller editor will be able to help the author to create a climax that is intense and satisfying, by suggesting revisions to the pacing, dialogue, and action to make it more thrilling. For example, if the climax is a fight scene, the editor may suggest adding more obstacles or increasing the stakes to make it more intense. Or if the climax is a chase scene, the editor may suggest adding more twists and turns to keep the reader guessing.

The resolution is the final outcome of the story, where all the conflicts are resolved and the story comes to an end. A good thriller editor will be able to help the author to create a resolution that is satisfying and makes sense in light of the events that have come before. For example, if the story is about a detective trying to catch a serial killer, the editor may suggest a resolution where the detective finally catches the killer and brings them to justice, but also shows the aftermath of the events, how the detective and the victims' families are dealing with the aftermath. This can make the resolution more emotionally engaging.

Additionally, a good thriller editor will also be able to help the author to create a climax and resolution that are cohesive and that the story comes to a satisfying conclusion. For instance, if the climax and resolution are not consistent with the overall tone and theme of the story, the editor may suggest revisions to make them more cohesive. They may suggest adding more details or scenes that tie up loose ends, or removing elements that don't fit with the story's overall narrative.

In short, a good thriller editor will be able to help the author to create a climax that is intense and satisfying, and a resolution that is satisfying, emotionally engaging and makes sense in light of the events that have come before. They will be able to help the author to create a climax and resolution that are cohesive and that the story comes to a satisfying conclusion.

Taut and Snappy

Creating a taut and snappy story is important for thriller writing, as it helps to keep the reader engaged and invested in the story. A good thriller editor will be able to help the author to create a story that is tight, concise and well-structured, by identifying areas that are slow or bogged down, and suggesting revisions to trim or rewrite them.

For example, if there are scenes or sections of the manuscript that do not advance the plot or add to the overall story, the editor may suggest cutting them to keep the story moving forward. Similarly, if there is a section that is overly descriptive or does not add to the tension, the editor may suggest condensing it to increase the pacing and tension.

A good thriller editor will also be able to help the author to create dialogue that is snappy, believable and adds to the tension. This can be achieved by suggesting revisions to the dialogue that makes it more realistic and consistent with the characters. For example, if the dialogue is overly formal or stilted, the editor may suggest revisions to make it more casual or colloquial to make it sound more believable. Or if the dialogue is too expositional, the editor may suggest adding subtext or double meaning to make it more interesting and engaging.

In addition to that, a good thriller editor will also be able to help the author to create a story that is tight and concise by suggesting revisions that increase the tension and suspense. For instance, if the story is building up to a major reveal but the tension is not high enough, the editor may suggest adding in more clues or red herrings to keep the reader guessing. Or if the story is focused on a chase scene but it is not as intense as it could be, the editor may suggest adding obstacles or increasing the stakes to make it more thrilling.

In short, a good thriller editor will be able to help the author to create a story that is tight, concise and well-structured, by identifying areas that slow down the pacing and suggesting revisions to trim or rewrite them. They will also be able to help the author to create dialogue that is snappy, believable and adds to the tension, and to increase the tension and suspense by suggesting revisions that add more clues or red herrings, or increasing the stakes.

Pay Close Attention to the Details of the Story

Paying close attention to the details of the story is an essential aspect of thriller writing, as it helps to create a sense of realism and believability. A good thriller editor will be able to help the author to create a story that is well-researched and believable, by identifying areas where the details of the story are not accurate or consistent.

For example, if the story is set in a specific location and the editor notices that the description of the location is not accurate, they may suggest revisions to make it more realistic. Similarly, if the story is about a specific profession and the editor notices that the details of the profession are not accurate, they may suggest revisions to make it more believable.

A good thriller editor will also be able to help the author to create a story that is believable by suggesting revisions that make the story more consistent. For example, if the story has a plot twist that is not consistent with the events that have come before, the editor may suggest revisions to make it more consistent and believable. Or if the story has a climax that is not consistent with the overall tone and theme of the story, the editor may suggest revisions to make it more cohesive.

Additionally, a good thriller editor will also be able to help the author to create a story that is believable by suggesting revisions that make the story more realistic. For instance, if the story has a scene that is too far-fetched or unbelievable, the editor may suggest revisions to make it more realistic and consistent with real-world logic. Or if the story has a character that is too perfect or infallible, the editor may suggest revisions to give them more flaws or weaknesses to make them more relatable and realistic.

In short, a good thriller editor will be able to help the author to create a story that is well-researched and believable, by identifying areas where the details of the story are not accurate or consistent and suggesting revisions to make them more realistic. They will also be able to help the author to create a story that is consistent and cohesive, by identifying plot twists or climaxes that are not consistent with the events that have come before and suggesting revisions to make them more believable. And they will also be able to help the author to create a story that is realistic, by identifying unrealistic elements and suggesting revisions to make them more consistent with real-world logic and to make the characters more relatable and realistic. In this way, a good thriller editor will play an essential role in ensuring that the story is believable and engaging to the reader, and that the details of the story are accurate and consistent.

Reading Like a Writer

Thriller writers should read like a writer in order to improve their craft and gain inspiration for their own writing. A good thriller editor will be able to help the author to develop this skill, by suggesting specific books or authors to read and analyzing the techniques used in those stories.

For example, if the author is struggling with creating tension and suspense in their story, the editor may suggest reading books by authors such as Gillian Flynn or James Patterson, who are known for their mastery of these elements. The editor may then analyze specific scenes or techniques used in those books and discuss them with the author, pointing out how they can be applied to their own writing.

A good thriller editor will also be able to help the author to develop their skills in other areas such as character development, pacing, and dialogue by suggesting different books or authors that are particularly strong in those areas and helping the author to analyze and learn from those examples. For example, if the author is struggling with creating relatable and nuanced characters, the editor may suggest reading books by authors such as Tana French or Michael Connelly, who are known for their well-developed characters.

Additionally, a good thriller editor will also be able to help the author to develop their skills in writing by suggesting different books or authors that are outside of their usual genre or comfort zone. This can help the author to gain new perspective and inspiration for their own writing and to learn new techniques that can be applied to their own work. For example, if the author primarily writes in the thriller genre, the editor may suggest reading books in other genres such as science fiction, fantasy or romance to gain a new perspective and expand the author's writing abilities.

In short, a good thriller editor will be able to help the author to improve their craft by suggesting specific books or authors to read and analyzing the techniques used in those stories. They will be able to help the author to develop their skills in areas such as tension and suspense, character development, pacing and dialogue, and also help the author to gain new perspective and inspiration by suggesting different books or authors that are outside of their usual genre or comfort zone. By reading like a writer, the author will be able to improve their writing skills and become a better thriller writer.

Must Read Thrillers

  1. "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn - This psychological thriller tells the story of Nick Dunne, whose wife Amy disappears on the morning of their fifth anniversary. As the police investigate and the media frenzy begins, Nick becomes the prime suspect in his wife's disappearance. Told from multiple perspectives, the story is filled with twists and turns that will keep the reader guessing until the very end. Flynn's writing is masterful in creating tension and suspense, making "Gone Girl" a must-read for thriller writers.
  2. "The Silent Child" by Carla Norton - This gripping thriller tells the story of a young girl who was kidnapped and held captive for years. When she is finally found and rescued, she is unable to speak and has no memory of her captor. As she struggles to recover and the police investigate, the story takes a thrilling turn as the true nature of her captivity is revealed. Norton's writing is masterful in creating a sense of suspense and in the portrayal of the emotional trauma of the victim, making "The Silent Child" a must-read for thriller writers who want to explore the darker side of human nature.
  3. "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson - This classic thriller tells the story of journalist Mikael Blomkvist, who is hired to investigate the decades-old disappearance of a wealthy businessman's niece. As he delves deeper into the case, he teams up with the enigmatic hacker Lisbeth Salander, and together they uncover a web of corruption and violence. Larsson's writing is masterful in creating a sense of tension and in the portrayal of the strong and complex female character, making "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" a must-read for thriller writers who want to explore crime and corruption in contemporary society.
  4. "Rebecca" by Daphne du Maurier - This classic gothic thriller tells the story of a young woman who marries a wealthy widower and moves into his grand estate, Manderley. But she soon discovers that the memory of his dead wife Rebecca still haunts the house and the staff, and that her husband is still in love with her. As she struggles to find her place in the house and in her husband's life, she uncovers dark secrets about Rebecca's death that will change everything. Du Maurier's writing is masterful in creating a sense of tension and in the portrayal of the psychological thriller, making "Rebecca" a must-read for thriller writers who want to explore the gothic genre.
  5. "Shutter Island" by Dennis Lehane - This psychological thriller tells the story of U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels, who is sent to investigate a missing patient at a hospital for the criminally insane on an island off the coast of Massachusetts. But as he delves deeper into the case, he discovers that nothing on the island is what it seems and that he is caught in a web of conspiracy and deception. Lehane's writing is masterful in creating a sense of tension and in the portrayal of the mind's ability to deceive, making "Shutter Island" a must-read for thriller writers who want to explore the darker side of human nature.

Understand the Thriller Genre

Understanding the thriller genre is crucial for any writer looking to create a story that keeps readers on the edge of their seat. A good thriller editor will be able to help the author understand what makes a thriller story work, and will be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a manuscript.

One important aspect of the thriller genre is the creation of suspense. This can be done through a number of different techniques, such as foreshadowing, cliffhangers, and the use of red herrings. For example, an editor may suggest planting subtle hints throughout the story that will be revealed later on, or they may suggest ending a chapter with a cliffhanger to keep the reader guessing. Similarly, an editor may suggest adding in false leads or red herrings to keep the reader guessing and increase the tension.

Another important aspect of the thriller genre is the portrayal of characters. A good thriller story will have well-rounded and believable characters, with clear motivations and goals. An editor may suggest fleshing out a character's backstory or motivations to make them more relatable, or may suggest adding in more action scenes to make the characters feel more dynamic.

A good thriller editor will also be able to help the author create a sense of realism in the story. This can be done by adding in details about the setting, or by including accurate research about the topic being covered in the story. For example, if the story is about a criminal investigation, an editor may suggest adding in details about the legal process or forensic techniques to make the story more believable.

Lastly, a good thriller editor will be able to help the author create a satisfying climax and resolution. This means ensuring that the story builds up to a high-stakes and intense climax, and that the resolution makes sense in light of the events that have come before. An editor may suggest adding in more action or plot twists leading up to the climax, or may suggest adjusting the resolution to provide a more satisfying and logical conclusion to the story.

In short, understanding the thriller genre is crucial for any writer looking to create a story that keeps readers on the edge of their seat. A good thriller editor will be able to help the author understand what makes a thriller story work, and will be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a manuscript. They will be able to help the author create suspense through techniques such as foreshadowing, cliffhangers, and red herrings, as well as to create believable and well-rounded characters, a sense of realism and a satisfying climax and resolution.

Below is a list of the most important thriller sub-genres:

  • Psychological thrillers
  • Crime thrillers
  • Political thrillers
  • Spy thrillers
  • Medical thrillers
  • Legal thrillers
  • Techno thrillers
  • Military thrillers
  • Supernatural thrillers
  • Noir thrillers
  • Survival thrillers
  • Erotic thrillers
  • Disaster thrillers
  • Financial thrillers
  • Nostalgic thrillers
  • Eco-thrillers
  • Noir thrillers
  • Action-adventure thrillers
  • Conspiracy thrillers
  • Horror thrillers
  • Gothic thrillers
  • Suspense thrillers
  • Techno-thrillers
  • Urban thrillers
  • Whodunit thrillers
  • Suspense thrillers
  • Noir thrillers
  • Psychological suspense thrillers
  • Paranormal thrillers
  • Conspiracy thrillers
  • Technothriller
  • Medical thriller
  • Legal thriller
  • Political thriller
  • Spy thriller
  • Noir thriller
  • Action thriller
  • Supernatural thriller
  • Eco-thriller
  • Nostalgic thriller
  • Disaster thriller
  • Financial thriller
  • Survival thriller
  • Erotic thriller
  • Noir thriller
  • Action-adventure thriller
  • Conspiracy thriller
  • Horror thriller
  • Gothic thriller
  • Suspense thriller
  • Techno-thriller
  • Urban thriller
  • Whodunit thriller
  • Suspense thriller
  • Noir thriller
  • Psychological suspense thriller
  • Paranormal thriller
  • Conspiracy thriller
  • Technothriller

This list is not exhaustive and there are many other sub-genres within the thriller genre, depending on the specific elements and themes used in the story. Some of the above sub-genres may overlap and it's not uncommon for a story to belong to more than one sub-genre.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions that will provide you more information.

What is the role of a thriller editor?

A thriller editor is responsible for reviewing and improving a manuscript, with the goal of creating a story that is suspenseful, believable, and emotionally engaging. This includes identifying areas of the manuscript that need improvement, making suggestions for how to develop characters, plot and pacing, and ensuring that the story is well-structured and has a satisfying climax and resolution.

How does a thriller editor help to create suspense in a story?

A thriller editor helps to create suspense in a story by suggesting techniques such as foreshadowing, cliffhangers, and the use of red herrings. They may also suggest adding in more action scenes or plot twists to increase tension. Additionally, they may suggest changes to the pacing of the story to create a sense of urgency and keep the reader engaged.

How does a thriller editor help to develop characters in a story?

A thriller editor helps to develop characters in a story by suggesting changes to their backstory or motivations to make them more relatable and believable. They may also suggest adding in more action scenes to make the characters feel more dynamic. Additionally, they may suggest changes to the dialogue or behavior of the characters to better reflect their motivations and goals.

What kind of research does a thriller editor do?

A thriller editor conducts research to ensure that the story is believable and accurate. This can include researching the setting of the story, the legal process or forensic techniques if the story is about a criminal investigation, or the political climate if the story is about a political thriller. Additionally, a thriller editor may conduct research to understand the target audience and their preferences.

How does a thriller editor ensure a satisfying climax and resolution?

A thriller editor ensures a satisfying climax and resolution by suggesting changes to the build-up to the climax to create high-stakes and intense action. They may suggest adding in more plot twists or action scenes to keep the reader engaged. Additionally, they may suggest changes to the resolution to make it more satisfying and logical in light of the events that have come before.

Summary

This article discusses the importance of thriller editing for writers looking to create a story that keeps readers on the edge of their seat. A good thriller editor will be able to help the author understand the elements that make a thriller story work and identify the strengths and weaknesses of a manuscript. The article breaks down key aspects of the thriller genre such as the creation of suspense, portrayal of characters, and a sense of realism. It also covers the importance of understanding the audience and tailoring the story to their preferences. Additionally, the article provides a list of common thriller sub-genres and five frequently asked questions about thriller editing. It also suggests that a good thriller editor will be able to help the author create a satisfying climax and resolution, and will be able to help the author to create a story that is well-structured, believable, and emotionally engaging. Overall, the article emphasizes the importance of having a skilled editor in the thriller writing process to turn a good story into a great one.