The thriller is first and foremost about suspense. Crime and thriller are closely related. The main difference to the crime story is that the main character in the thriller doesn’t have an official mission (like a commissioner, for example), but faces strong pressure from violence and usually has to stand up on his own. The main characters in the thriller are often inexperienced people who have no idea about fighting. The inexperience of the protagonist makes the plot especially interesting and thrilling, because the character is constantly failing there. In this chapter you will get to know the 10 most important thriller plots. Don’t forget that plots from the field of crime stories can also occur in thrillers.

Thrillers oftentimes start with a blameless person being threatened, and the threat he has to face is very big. The central character can be a professional (e.g. a former police officer) or an amateur who has no combat training at all. In both cases, the protagonists first refuse to fight and face the threat. In order to survive, however, the characters have to act and find tricky ways to escape violence. Later, the protagonists strike back and can emerge as victors from the action by adopting an offensive stance.

  The 10 Thriller Superplots 
  1. be pursued
  An innocent citizen is suddenly persecuted and faces a conspiracy.
  2. disassembly
  Nothing is as it once was: a person’s life is ruined. There’s a plot behind it.
  3. breaking out of a hopeless situation
  Deadly pressure is exerted on an increasingly narrow dwelling that becomes a trap. The prisoners try to escape.
  4. save/protect someone
  A person must take a high risk in order to save and/or protect another person.
  5. duel – to fight back (learn)
  The protagonist is involved in a dangerous duel to the death in which he has to defend himself (learn).
  6. unexpected help 
  A group comes under massive pressure and receives support from friends just in time.
  7. preventing a conspiracy 
  A single person recognizes a conspiracy and searches for comrades-in-arms. Together they can defeat the threat.
  8. false identity
  A major threat can only be prevented by a professional mingling with the group of bad guys and then taking them down.
  9. overthrow of a terrorist regime 
  A regime oppresses humanity. A small group tries to overthrow the regime.
  10. the dilemma
  After a character transformation into a negative, the protagonist has to decide whether to drift further into the negative or to opt for the positive.

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