Writing Tactics – Find, Fix, Flank, Finish

Robbie MacNiven

My father served for many years in the British Army. Growing up, he taught me a lot of hard-won lessons. Some of it has been applicable to daily life and some of it, after a long second glance, has even helped me become a better writer.

Take the Four Fs, a military maxim designed as the layman’s guide to battlefield tactics. The Fs in question are find, fix, flank and finish. The idea is wonderfully simplistic. Find the enemy’s position, fix him in place by pinning him down with covering fire, then outflank said fixed position. Lastly, finish him off. Image

Now this universal piece of tactical doctrine has helped me more times than I care to count when I’m out paintballing, but yesterday it struck me that I take a similar approach to writing.

Everybody approaches differently, but speaking (very) broadly there are three ways to write a novel –…

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