Guest Post: Killer Plot Elements Needed to Write Good Psychological Thrillers and Dark Fantasy


Scary, mean, dark, compelling, transformational potential, and hope but not too much hope for the future. If there is too much hope then we run the risk of selling our soul out to an angel. Selling out to an angel is a terrible possibility because that trivializes the human condition, takes what is complex and looks only at the surface and ready-made answers that seem to provide immediate relief from suffering.

Scary and mean and dark and compelling set the stage for dark forces infringing on human hope and potential with no guarantees. We have to remain on the edge our seat, waiting to see what’s going to happen. Claire, in The Unholy, is a young woman haunted and intimated by a life-threatening figure, a man robed in black. He haunts her dreams, comes in nightmares, terrifying remembrances of things past. This deep fear from childhood trauma so laces The Unholy with compelling imagery and emotion that the reader is flung forward into the narrative desperate to find out not only what will happen but how it will happen, how a young woman could possible handle the power of a misogynistic religious male patriarchy.

Archbishop William Anarch hates women and Claire Sanchez, curandera, is a young and vulnerable women. When a man carries the sanction of society, particularly of a huge religious organization, and mixes it with his own sordid inclinations so as to empower himself then we’ve got one of the building blocks of good set against evil.

Innocence is the other building block, Claire Sanchez, and when she confronts face to face the worst thing in her life…we’ve got action and thrills.

Scary, mean, dark, compelling with the potential for hope and transformation are the building blocks for good psychological thrillers and dark fantasy!

9780865349599-Perfect w modern.inddAbout The Unholy

“A young curandera, a medicine woman, intent on uncovering the secrets of her past is forced into a life-and-death battle against an evil Archbishop. Set in the mystic land of Aztlan, the Unholy is a novel of destiny as healer and slayer. native lore of dreams and visions, shape changing, and natural magic work to spin a neo-gothic web in which sadness and mystery lure the unsuspecting into a twilight realm of discovery and decision.”

Name: Paul DeBlassie III

Book Title: The Unholy

Genre: Paranormal Thriller

Publisher: Sunstone Press

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Book Excerpt

Father Gall had taught Archbishop Anarch about the dark side of spiritual powers, to be used only for the highest purposes, a foul magic ignited when hatred burned from the core of the soul. Then and only then would the sordid wizardry accomplish the nefarious deed required for the most godly purpose.


Archbishop Anarch took the lock of the child’s hair and curled it around the top of the crook. Stroking the head of the serpent, he repeatedly whispered, “Curl and coil, tease and frighten, strike and bite till her blood begins to boil.” The crook became white hot, aglow with his hate. The viper writhed in his hand, its eyes fixated on him. Soon the crook was no longer a crook, and the snake slithered away.


About The Author

PAUL DeBLASSIE III, PhD, is a psychologist and writer living in his native New Mexico. A member of the Depth Psychology Alliance, the Transpersonal Psychology Association, and the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, he has for over thirty years treated survivors of the dark side of religion.


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3 Responses

  1. Thank you for your hosting The Unholy!

  2. J.M. Brown says:

    Excerpt from my blog:In a psychological thriller, which is actually a sub-genre of a thriller, the characters are exposed to danger on a mental level rather than a physical one. It usually centers around the instability of an antagonist’s mind and the main characters have to solve tortuous situations that threaten to weaken their own mental state causing them to battle with their own thoughts to decide what’s real or not. Anyone reading a well written psychological thriller can usually get inside the head of both hero/heroine and the killer. Some plots have mystery packages showing up with grisly contents in an attempt to make their target nervous and afraid which weakens their mental state. The story comes to an end on the killer’s own turf, in most cases, making the outcome very questionable. There is nobody around to help, everyone is tricked into thinking the bad guy is either someone or somewhere else, leaving the two main characters alone. This part is usually played out slower than the rest of the book and a skilled author must have the climax either gut wrenching or resolved. Isn’t it terrible when the outcome is a total surprise and horribly unexpected? You never know in a psychological thriller.