Fiction File: What a Target Ad Taught Me About Readers and World-Building

The other day, I was looking over the ad for Target. This thing was a monster–about 40 pages. All kinds of toys for sale, reduced prices, all that good stuff.

My brother had a copy of the ad, too. He was about to throw it away, when he showed me something in the Star Wars section I knew I had to share with you (you’ll see why in a minute).

Why the Star Wars section? It’s no surprise to me–he’s the one responsible for getting me to like Star Wars.

Also, he’s a serious fan–the kind who’s read a series of novels multiple times (5+), and can tell you what kind of weapon which character has in what Star Wars video game (I’m not kidding).

Anyway, he pointed to one of the toys, and I saw a Storm Trooper with red paint on the armor in place of the black they normally have. For me, that was it.

But he said, “They said this was a Clone Trooper Warrior. But it’s a 501st Elite Shock Trooper.”

This has everything to do with your readers and world-building as a fiction writer.

Let me explain…

Unique characters and settings are the kind of things that inspire on-the-spot trivia contests, and “Did you know…” around forums, Facebook, and other places.

Which creates exposure for your work. Which, if it’s good, leads to shares, sales, likes, and so on.

Or readers telling you what they’d like to see next, based on something they’ve read in your story.

We could all use more of that, wouldn’t you say?

Until next time,



About Ty Mall

Thanks for stopping by. I've almost always been interested in writing, among other things. Along with discovering pop culture, I've uncovered a lot about the craft over the past 10 years. And whether you're a fiction writer or email copywriter, I'm here to pass on what I've found out. And have a ton of fun in the process.
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