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ServiceScape Incorporated
ServiceScape Incorporated

Connecting the Dots: How To Write a Conspiracy Thriller


A conspiracy thriller is a story that revolves around a group of people who are working together to secretly achieve a common goal. The plot often involves the characters uncovering a conspiracy, which leads to them being targeted by those who are behind it. Conspiracy thrillers are often fast-paced and suspenseful, and they often have a political or social element to them. The key to writing a successful conspiracy thriller is to create a sense of suspense and tension that will keep readers guessing until the very end. Here are a few tips to help you write a conspiracy thriller that will keep your readers on the edge of their seats.

Create an intriguing conspiracy

First and foremost, you must choose an intriguing premise. What is the group of conspirators up to? What are they trying to achieve? Why are they working in secret? These are all questions that you will need to answer in order to create a compelling story. In doing this, there a number of things to consider. To name just a few, you should do diligent research on your topic, and you should consider what kind of themes you want to play with in your writing.

There are many themes that are commonly explored in conspiracy thrillers. These themes can include government secrets and cover-ups, the existence of secret societies or conspiracies, mind control and brainwashing, and paranoia. Government secrets and cover-ups are a popular theme in conspiracy thrillers.

The existence of secret societies or conspiracies is another common theme in conspiracy thrillers. Mind control and brainwashing are also common themes.

Paranoia creates an atmosphere of distrust and suspicion, which can make even the most mundane situations seem sinister and foreboding. Additionally, paranoia can also lead characters to make rash and dangerous decisions as they become increasingly convinced that everyone is out to get them. This can make for a thrilling and suspenseful story, as the characters are constantly second-guessing themselves and everyone around them. Ultimately, the theme of paranoia contributes to your atmosphere of tension and unease.

When researching for your story, first, you want to make sure that you have a solid grasp on the basics of the conspiracy theory you're writing about. This means doing some general research on the topic, and reading up on as many different related theories as possible. Once you have a good understanding of the basics, you can start to narrow down your focus and look for specific information that will help to flesh out your story. Another important aspect of researching for a conspiracy thriller is to pay attention to current events. Keeping up with the news can help you to come up with new ideas for your story, and it can also provide you with a realistic backdrop against which to set your tale. Additionally, you may want to consider talking to people who are actually involved with the conspiracy theory you're writing about. This can be a great way to get first-hand information and to get a better understanding of the mindset of those who believe in the theory. Just remember to stay focused, and pay attention to both the factual details and the human element of the story you're telling.

Structure the narrative effectively

Here are some ideas to keep in mind when you are structuring the narrative:

  1. Start with a bang. Open with a scene that will immediately grab your reader's attention and set the tone for the rest of the book.
  2. Use strong verbs and vivid adjectives to create a mental image for your reader. The more concrete and specific your language is, the more engaging your writing will be.
  3. Be concise with your phrasing and details. Get to the point quickly and avoid long-winded introductions.
  4. Hook your reader with a question. Presenting a question in your opening is a great way to keep your reader engaged. Give them something to continue thinking about as they get through your introduction.
  5. End with a bang. The ending of your story is just as important as the beginning. Make sure to tie up all the loose ends and leave your readers with a satisfying conclusion. A good way to do this is to have the conspirators' plans come to light in the end and have them face the consequences of their actions.

Create believable characters

The characters in your story need to be believable and relatable in order for readers to invest in them and care about what happens in your story. Take the time to develop your characters and their motivations for being involved in the conspiracy. What do they stand to gain from the plot? What are they willing to risk? Ask yourself why it's important that this specific character is wrapped up in your specific conspiracy.

It can be helpful to create a character profile, including information about their background, personality, and goals. It is also important to consider how your character would interact with other characters in the story. Consider these questions about your characters. What drives them? What are their goals? Why do they do the things they do?

The essential questions can be boiled down to:

  • What does your character want?
  • What is your character afraid of?
  • What does your character need?

Answering these can help you understand your characters better and write them in a way that is more relatable and believable to your readers.

For example, let's say you're writing a character who is a criminal. What might their motivations be? They might want money, power, or respect. They might be afraid of getting caught or going to jail. They might need to provide for their family or themselves. Understanding your characters' motivations is essential to writing them in a way that is compelling and believable to your readers. Take the time to ask yourself what drives your characters and why they do the things they do. It will make all the difference in your writing.

Build suspense

You want to keep your readers guessing by slowly revealing information and details about the conspiracy. One way to build suspense is to create a sense of unease or foreboding in your readers from the very beginning. This can be done by introducing elements of mystery, fear, or the unknown. Another method is to withhold information from the reader, creating a sense of tension and curiosity. Withholding key plot points, character motivations, or key pieces of information can help create a sense of mystery and build the tension in your narrative.

Suspense is a vital element in any work of fiction, and knowing how to build it is essential for any writer. There are a few key ways to build suspense, and using them effectively can make all the difference in whether or not your story is a page-turner.

  • Throughout the story, give hints about what might happen next or what the characters are hiding. These hints should be subtle enough that readers don't catch on right away, but should be enough to get them thinking about the possibilities. Hinting at something dark or dangerous lurking in the story's world, or introducing a character who seems shady or untrustworthy can help build the sense of tension.
  • You can also use cliffhangers. End each chapter or scene with a cliffhanger to leave readers wanting more. This could be a suspenseful moment, such as a character being in danger, or a plot twist that changes everything.
  • Another way is to keep readers in the dark about key information. Withholding information about the true nature of a character or situation can create a sense of unease and make readers want to find out more.
  • Finally, one of the most effective ways to build suspense is to ratchet up the stakes as the story progresses. This could mean that the characters are in more and more danger, or that the consequences of failure become greater and greater. Continually raising the stakes means readers are constantly wondering what will happen next. By upping the stakes, you'll keep readers on the edge of their seats and eager to find out what happens next.

Build the tension slowly until it reaches a boiling point. Suspense is a crucial element of any good story, so if you want to keep your readers hooked, make sure you know how to build it.

Write tight

Every sentence should contribute to the story and move the plot forward. In order to make every word count in your story, you need to be concise and to the point. For this, you need to know what your story is about and what you want to say. Every word should be carefully chosen for its connotations and implications. The wrong word can change the meaning of a sentence, and even a whole story. Choose your words carefully to ensure that your story is saying what you want it to say.

Finally, remember that less is often more. A well-written story can be much more effective than one that is crammed full of unnecessary details. Be selective about what you include, and make sure that each element serves a purpose.

Finally, edit ruthlessly

Don't be afraid to cut anything that doesn't add to the book. When it comes to editing a story, it can be difficult to know what aspects to cut. However, there are a few general guidelines that can help you make the decision of what to keep and what to cut.

  • First, you should consider the overall plot of the story and whether or not the aspect you are considering cutting is essential to the story. If it is not essential, then it can likely be cut.
  • You should also consider if the aspect you are considering cutting is well-developed. If it is not well-developed, then it may not be worth keeping in the story.
  • Finally, you should also think about whether what you are considering cutting is interesting. If it is not interesting, then it is likely that readers will not want to read about it.

By considering these three factors, you can narrow down which aspects of the story are worth keeping and which can be cut.

Header photo by New Africa.

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