Live. Spend as much time as you can experiencing life and death up close and personal. Keep good notes. Come up with a hero we’ve never seen before, formulate a solid fictional world for him/her in which to ping-pong around, construct a workable plot, then wall yourself off from the world and, most importantly, write. Don’t go to Starbucks and covertly ogle the local talent under the pretense of writing. Don’t attend one seminar or workshop after another where would-be writers merely talk about writing. Lock yourself in a room without distraction for as many hours a day as you can stand and/or afford, plant your butt in the chair, and write. And one other thing: show what you’ve written to no one until you’re finished your thriller and have made it as good as you possibly can. For me, anyway, there’s nothing more creatively paralyzing than sharing your work midway through with someone whose opinion you value. They’ll tell you how much they love it—then suggest “improvements” which can only cloud your thinking. Screw ‘em! It’s your book.