You can find my most recent writing post over at Dead Darlings this month.
Sooner or later every fiction writer fields this question. Often the challenge appears as a single word – STAKES? – scrawled on a novel chapter or short story draft, plus or minus a coffee cup ring, or the remnant of someone’s bean and cheese burrito.
As readers, once we’ve engaged with characters in a story (sympathy), what impels us to hope for the best and fear for the worst? Will Bill the carpenter live or die after his circular saw accident? Will Ingrid the surgeon keep her marriage intact, or get a divorce? If the author is doing his or her job right, this two-edged anxiety will cause us to turn pages late into the night.
What follows is a catalog, by no means exhaustive, of fictional stakes, and examples of authors who have used those stakes to good effect. Read More at Dead Darlings →
Large poker table image: