Writing a Psychological Thriller

6 weeks
Start Date
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Writing a Psychological Thriller

From Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca to the contemporary novels of Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins, and Liane Moriarty, psychological thrillers have been keeping us on the edge of our seats for decades.

If you’re keen to write your own original thriller – whether you have the germ of an idea or are already halfway through – this course is for you.

Across six weeks, bestselling novelist Erin Kelly will take you on a journey – exploring what makes a satisfying psychological thriller. From plotting complex twists and turns to building suspense, mastering flashbacks, and creating intriguing, believable characters that readers relate to, Erin will equip you with all the tools you’ll need to hook your readers from the outset and keep them turning the pages.

This course is excellent. It felt like every Thursday for six weeks Erin Kelly gave me a private lesson full of her best tips and secret advice.

Marilyn J



Erin Kelly

Erin Kelly is the author of He Said/She Said, which spent a total of 12 weeks in the Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller list. Her first novel The Poison Tree became a major ITV drama and a Richard & Judy bestseller. Erin has written five more original psychological thrillers, The Sick Rose, The Burning Air, The Ties That Bind, We Know You Know and Watch Her Fall, all of which were published to critical acclaim. In 2014, she wrote the official novel and short story series of the hit TV series Broadchurch. Her books have been translated into 25 languages.

As well as writing fiction, Erin has worked as a journalist since 1998 and teaches creative writing. She lives in north London with her husband and daughters.


  • Video modules: Work through six weekly modules comprising teaching videos from Erin, offering a practical and inspiring approach to help you understand the key elements of suspense fiction and craft your own nail-biting story.
  • Writing tasks: Weekly tasks will help you explore and understand the teaching topics as you progress with your novel.
  • Resources & notes: You’ll get access to comprehensive teaching notes and reference materials, including multiple case studies from Erin’s bestselling novels and popular psychological thriller books.
  • Professional feedback: An expert CBC editor will give brief written feedback on several of the students' practical assignments every week, with all students receiving feedback on one of their writing tasks. Students are also given the option to purchase additional end-of-course feedback from our expert editors.
  • Student forum: Find your writing community on our private student forums. Upload your completed writing tasks, give and receive peer-to-peer feedback, and discuss the week’s topics with your fellow students and the CBC team.


Our online courses are designed for flexible learning. Allocate your own study time and take part from wherever you are in the world. Each week, we recommend spending at least four hours on the course. It’s also important to be planning and working on your novel throughout the six weeks.

  • WEEK 1
    Hook & premise
  • WEEK 2
    Beginnings & show-don’t-tell
  • WEEK 3
    Plot, pace & structure
  • WEEK 4
    Character & viewpoint
  • WEEK 5
  • WEEK 6
    Endings & next steps


All students will be given the option to purchase feedback on their final task from a CBC editor.

  • CBC report: For an additional fee of £145, you can obtain a detailed 500-word report on your work (of up to 3,000 words) from one of our CBC editors.
  • CBC report + tutorial: For an additional fee of £240, you can obtain a 500-word report from one of our CBC editors and have a 30-minute video or telephone tutorial with them to discuss your work.