Write Stories Your Readers Won’t Forget


Paperback. Write the story you’ve always wanted to write.

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Write the story you’ve always wanted to write. Stant Litore’s third toolkit for writers will empower you to sharpen your story’s thematic intensity. Theme is your answer to the question, Why does this story matter? Why does this story matter to each of your characters, and why does it matter to you? Why this story? What hold does it have on your heart? If you find the most compelling answer to that question – and then write that answer into every scene in your book – you’ll have a story that will matter to readers, too.

This toolkit provides a sequence of 30 story-building exercises plus guidelines on how to craft a thematic outline for your story and use it as a potent tool for revision. In these pages, explore how character, theme, and plot interact; how what matters most in your story gets expressed through each character’s unique voice and gets performed dramatically through your plot; and discover how a mastery of theme can help you establish a powerful threshold text to begin your story, solve “the saggy middle,” and deliver a denouement that your readers will never forget.


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“Not only is the advice great, but there’s a warmth to the chapters that makes writing inviting rather than intimidating.” – Todd Mitchell, author of The Traitor King and The Last Panther

“There are other worldbuilding books out there; this is the one you want.” – Travis Heerman, author of the Ronin trilogy

“A master class: Litore has created an accessible, comprehensive approach.” – S.G. Redling, author of Flowertown and Damocles

“This is a clear, comprehensive, and beautifully written guide that will not only help emerging writers to find their voices and build imaginative worlds and characters, but one that will also prove invaluable to experienced writers seeking to spark their creative impulses or deepen the worlds they create.” – Angela Mitchell, author of Falada and Dancing Days


Stant Litore is the author of the nonfiction titles Lives of Unforgetting and On the Other Side of the Night, and the fiction titles Ansible, The Zombie Bible, Dante’s Heart, and The Dakotaraptor Riders. Best known for his weird fiction, alternate history, and science fiction, he holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Denver (as Daniel Fusch). He has served as a developmental editor for the independent writers’ collaborative Westmarch Publishing, and his work on character development has been featured in Jeff Vandermeer’s Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction. Litore’s fiction has been acclaimed by NPR, has served as the topic for scholarly work in Relegere and Weird Fiction Review, and he has been hailed as “SF’s premier poet of loneliness.” He is fascinated by ancient languages, history, and religious studies. He does not currently own a starship or a time machine but would rather like to. He lives in Colorado with his three children and hides from visitors in the basement library beneath a heap of toy dinosaurs, tattered novels, comic books, incomprehensibly scribbled drafts, and antique tomes. He is working on his next novel, or several.

He has taught these classes for Clarion West, Pikes Peak Writers Conference, Writing the Other, Castle Rock Writers Conference, and other professional events for fiction writers.


164 pages.
Cover art by Lauren K. Cannon.



Additional information

Weight 0.20 kg


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