There’s nothing as engrossing as a perfectly written thriller. You can find yourself completely immersed in the world that the author has created, making it hard to put the book down.
In the world of content writing, rarely is this feeling ever achieved – and that’s ok. We’re generally not in the business of writing novels about our companies. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t take advice from the horror greats on what it takes to be an engaging writer.
To thrill your readers with your next piece of content, call upon these tips from some famous thriller and horror writers when you start writing:
Kathe Koja, Author of The Cipher, Strange Angels, Skin & more
To all writers of all genders and genres, my best and most heartfelt advice is read, read, read and write, write, write; forever.
Thrilling takeaway: Writers don't just write – they also have to read. Read what others in your industry are writing to get ideas and keep up on trends.
Stephen King, Author of IT, Bag of Bones, The Shining & more
Remember that word back. That’s where the research belongs: as far in the background and the back story as you can get it.
Thrilling takeaway: Research is imperative for creating an impactful piece of content, but don't let it take over the whole story. You got stats? Great. Now dive into what they mean and what your readers can learn from them. Anyone can post some interesting numbers, but your audience is reading your blog or white paper to hear what you have to say about them.
On getting the right tone
John Ajvide Lindqvist , Author of Let the Right One In, Let Me In, Harbor & more
I try to write in such a way that you can read my stories out loud. Also, my first reader is always my wife. I read 15-25 pages at the time out loud to her while writing, so I can get her input and also hear how the story sounds.
Thrilling takeaway: As writers, we sometimes forget to get out of our own heads. Everything you write can make perfect sense to you, but having an outside perspective can help you find a more natural to say something that you may not have thought of. Additionally, reading your piece out loud, not just in your head, can allow you to hear just how awkward that sentence that you thought was masterful really sounds.
On captivating your audience
Shirley Jackson, Author of The Haunting of Hill House, The Lottery, The Sundial & more
Using any device that might possibly work, the writer has to snare the reader’s attention and keep it.
Thrilling takeaway: Every audience is different. Just because your friend is killing it with infographics at her company doesn't mean that infographics will slay the same way at yours. Learn what your audience is into and stick with it. Try out a new trend every now and then, but if you find that you aren't grabbing your readers' attention, go back to your tried and true methods.
Tana French, Author of In the Woods, The Likeness, The Trespasser & more
If you rewrite a paragraph fifty times and forty-nine of them are terrible, that’s fine; you only need to get it right once.
Thrilling takeaway: Did your first go at your new eBook suck? Guess what, so did everyone else's. No one has to know how many times you rewrote your content, all that they care is that the end piece is educational and engaging. Don't beat yourself up if something just isn't working. Walk away and come back to it later.
On writer’s block
R.L. Stine, Author of the Goosebumps series, Red Rain, Bitten & more
If you do enough planning before you start to write, there’s no way you can have writer’s block. I do a complete chapter by chapter outline... And I hate it, too. But I can’t work without it.
Thrilling takeaway: If you're starting something big, plan! Your eBook or white paper writing will go so much more smoothly if you know exactly what you want to hit in each section and what you need for supporting resources.
Anne Rice, Author of Prince Lestat, Wolf Gift, Interview with the Vampire & more
On the subject of writing block, of course chocolate helps! Chocolate helps everything.