Raising the stakes – Fiction Writing Tips to keep your reader engaged
Readers, and I’m sure you are one of them have simple needs. We need to be invested in what happens in a story. Not just what is happening right now, but what will happen next. Here are some great fiction writing tips I’ve collected on how to raise those stakes!
We’ve all found that novel where we were engrossed in it for a time and then suddenly lost interest. Did you ever find it difficult to turn the page on a book and felt more like putting it down instead of turning the page? The writer wasn’t raising the stakes for you. They should have taken a look at these fiction writing tips on raising the stakes.
There is a RAISING THE STAKES WORKSHEET for your chapter progression to make sure you’re doing it at every turn.
What does raising the stakes really mean? Here are a series of questions you have to ask so you can nail that down.
WHAT does the protagonist stand to gain from this situation? And, what are they possibly going to lose?
This must be at the forefront of your mind when writing because it is at the forefront of the mind of your reader. Having detailed knowledge of what there is to lose will help you keep the stakes high at every turn.
WHAT are the obstacles they face right now?
Another way to think about it is WHERE IS THE CONFLICT? Something has to be in the way in order for your reader to question how the story will find a way around it.
Doing this one chapter at a time is helpful.
WHAT do they need to do in order to obtain their goal?
This is as much an existential question as it is a physical one. Sometimes what your protagonist needs is confidence, love, internal courage or some aspect of motivation to keep them going and achieve whatever it is they are after. Keep that in mind and give the reader little bits of growth and change to help them out.
HOW much is at risk?
Of course, the highest stakes imaginable is the protagonist dying. Jim Butcher proved that dying is a matter of perspective and can offer a great alternative to telling a story. Check out Ghost Stories to see what I mean. Death does not always have to be the end, and having your protagonist lose the stakes they are fighting against can create another branch to your amazing story.
The stakes in any moment do not have to be physical either, emotional stakes are often more powerful to the reader.
Whatever you do, take the time to ALWAYS RAISE THE STAKES and use lots of WRITING TOOLS to help you. I work hard to offer as many fiction writing tips that I can. Take the time to download my free stuff to help you out. Us writers need to stick together.