Allow me to share my top ten strategies for writing crime fiction and thrillers that will please the reader to make publishers start groping because of their chequebooks.
1) Know the market.
Read very widely. Numerous authors as possible, significantly less many books. Issues read one book by Patricia Cornwell or Linwood Barclay, then go forward. You know their shtick. Learn what else is out there. This means also reading the classics, understanding the history of the genre, and reading a good amount of fiction in translation too. What's more, it means reading the relevant non-fiction. If you're writing political espionage thrillers, for instance, you need to know the political, military and security bacground If you don't, your readers will - and will also be caught out.
2) Understand in which the leading edge lies.
The biggest names (eg: Coben, Rankin, Reichs) usually are not the most current. They built their reputations in years past. Try to locate the sexiest (biggest selling, most praised, most innovative, prize winning) debut novels. It is exactly what editors are buying today. That's the market you're competing in.
3) Don't merely trot out the cliches.
You've got a serial killer have you? A terrorist bomb plot? Be tough yourself. These things are tired old cliches. They can work if you handle these questions new or dazzling way, however the old ways are no longer enough.
4) Get complex. Your plot almost definitely needs a brain-aching level of complexity, and a surprising number of well-planned, well-executed twists. Because modern crime authors are getting to be really good at developing complex but plausible plots, also, since modern thriller writers have grown to be so adept at delivering a limitless chain of impossible-to-see-it-coming twists, you can't afford to be under devilishly clever yourself. With rare exceptions, simple no longer sells.
5) Stick with the darkness.
Your book have to be dark and tough. That's your entry ticket towards the genre. What you do there is very varied, but cute, cosy crime is certainly a limited market now. If you wish to write cosy crime, then expect a smaller readership and meagre sales.
6) Make sure you remember jeopardy.
Crime novels now can also be thrillers. It's not OK for the detective to fix the mystery and explain all this to a hushed and respectful audience. On the other hand, (s)he's got to be fear of his/her life. It offers to be white knuckle as well as intellectually satisfying.
7) Focus on character.
Crime and thriller plots are often forgettable, and often feel very samey anyway. Characters, however, never leave us: Holmes, Marlowe, Elvis Cole, Hannibal Lecter. If you find a strong character, and fit everything in else reasonably competently, then you certainly quite likely have fiction that'll sell.
8) Write well!
Bad writing will, without doubt kill your chances of success. And quite right too. You won't need to be flowery. You have to be completely competent.
9) Be economical.
Thrillers should be taut. Check your book for needless chapters, your chapters for needless paragraphs, your paragraps for needless sentences, as well as your sentences for needless words. Then do everything over again. Twice.
10) Be perfectionist.
Good isn't good enough. Dazzling will be the target. Being tough with yourself is the essential first ingredient. Getting somebody else to be tough along with you is quite possibly the second.
I said ten tips, didn't I? What the heck, here's an eleventh:
11) Don't give up.
Be persistent. You learn by doing. You'll improve. Take into consideration building your skills, engaging with all the industry, or getting editorial advice. All of the things will increase your maturity as a writer. Now write that thriller, polish it - and then sell it. Best of luck!