Raising the Stakes

As I grapple with my multi stranded story line that does not seem to tie together, I have found this web page about structure and plot very helpful. I particularly like the advice about raising the stakes of your character’s emotional journey. Basically, this means that your character must overcome a series of obstacles in the course of the story, each seeming even more insurmountable than the one before.

The obstacles that the heroine in my novel is facing are malicious acts of sabotage which become increasingly threatening as the story progresses. At least, that was my plan. Skimming through the first few chapters this morning I realised that my heroine has a pretty easy time of it obstacle wise. I have a dangerously over salted bowl of soup – shock! horror! – and water savagely spilled over a pile of research notes. Yes, these are the kinds of terrors that plague my heroine’s existence. She can no longer trust the canteen food in case some maniac with a salt cellar has tampered with her lunch, nor can she leave her PhD thesis notes unattended in the college library for fear that a lunatic armed with a bottle of water may drench her notebook.

My only defence is that at the time of writing the above mentioned ludicrous scenarios I was under the influence of large amount of caffeine and cracking under the pressure of having to churn out 50 000 words in a month. I promise I will do better in the next draft.


One thought on “Raising the Stakes

  1. It’s always a juggling act trying to control different strands of your story. Its mental acrobatics. And exhausting. One thing i’ve learned, especially in your first few drafts is not to be concerned too much if it works. You do that later on when you start paring down and adding on other material.

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