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Tipping Points (and also: VOTE)

It’s Election Day in the U.S., which you surely know unless you’re living under a sound-proof stone that hasn’t been picked up and thrown at someone. Hard to believe that a few short years ago many of us rarely expressed controversial opinions, choosing to be ‘polite’ rather than overtly ‘political,’ yet here we are.

So let’s talk broadly about tipping points for a minute, and tune in to story.

Consider your protagonist’s world view at the start of your tale:

Now think through what it would take, in each instance, for her to change her mind; to be pushed and shoved out of her comfort zone; to be rattled by a proverbial stone against her skull, or even to pick one up herself.

Don’t tell me she would never allow herself to be tipped, because I do not believe it, and if you do, then you need to dig harder, my friend. Identify the wildcard in her life, and if it doesn’t exist, then build it.

Need help brainstorming? Consider the effect of the following:





Corrupt forces

Threats to her future

Threats to those she loves

Threats to things she loves














Don’t make her flip of nature too easy, either, or it will read false.


Because if I’ve learned nothing over the last few years, it’s that nothing is sacred. Nothing is solid. Nothing is forever. Nothing can be taken for granted. And that doing nothing and expecting change is not only tantamount to madness but becomes impossible once that tipping point is reached.

Just as we writers must press on and pursue–must write on, and persevere–so must our protagonists if they are to convey a tale that is rich and bold and true. You need look no further than the front page of today’s newspaper to see why that will be required to gain and keep the attention of your readership.

Have a way of finding your protagonist’s tipping point that you’d like to share? Share away.

But only after you VOTE.

About Therese Walsh [1]

Therese Walsh co-founded WU in 2006 and is the site's editorial director. She was the architect and 1st editor of WU's only book, Author in Progress [2], and orchestrates the WU UnConference. [3] Her second novel, The Moon Sisters [4], was named one of the best books of the year by Library Journal and Book Riot; and her debut, The Last Will of Moira Leahy [5] was a Target Breakout Book. Sign up for her newsletter [6] to be among the first to learn about her new projects (or follow her on BookBub [7]). Learn more on her website [8].