This Is a Towel: Resources for Writing Espionage

microsuedemouse asked: Hi there WriteWorld! I was wondering if you could point me in the direction of any references for writing espionage/spy fiction. I’ve been doing some research, but it’s difficult to find resources with useful information. It would be much appreciated, thanks!

Okay, hold your nose because we are about to dive into the deep end of research and resources for thrillers, intrigue, and espionage!

Espionage (n): The practice of spying or of using spies, typically by governments.

Espionage novels, or Spy novels, are typically a sub-genre of Thriller, which is itself a sub-genre of Mystery. Espionage novels also incorporate many themes common to the Adventure novel. These books may assume a whole host of common tropes, absorb plot or character elements from other genres, and base their characters out of real or imagined agencies to prevent/cause mischief.

Let’s take a look at some online resources. While I admit that information may be a bit thin on the ground here, there are definitely some great articles and videos to check out:

Now let’s talk about books. Actually going to your library or bookstore (or purchasing books through an e-reader) might be your best bet here. You’re just not going to get the same resources online as you will in a book on this subject. On most subjects, actually. With that in mind, below I have compiled a few lists for you to help get you started on your quest for resources.

Remember, these are lists of lists. You’ve got a lot of digging to do to find the books that will benefit you, and no one can do that digging for you.

A small sampling of the lists of fiction books on espionage for reference:

A small sampling of the lists of non-fiction books on espionage for research:

A small sampling of the lists of books on how to write thrillers, mysteries, and espionage fiction:

Hopefully that is enough to speed you on your way. Thank you very much for your question, and best of luck on your story! If you have any comments on this article or other questions about writing, you can message us here!