Category Archives: High Stakes

Writing to the Beat: Translating Story Beats to Any Genre

Readers of my blog know I’m a big fan of beat sheets, even creating a beat sheet for romance stories. Because of that, writers ask me what beats they should include in their mystery, thriller, or *insert any genre here* … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Characters, Conflict, High Stakes, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Story Structure, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 13 Comments

Why Characters Need Choices in Fiction

Help me welcome one of our favorite people, Janice Hardy (@Janice_Hardy). She has a great post on the importance of providing characters with stake-heavy choices, so please read on. 🙂  Choices drive every single conflict in a novel. The protagonist … Continue reading

Posted in Conflict, Empathy, Guest Post, High Stakes, Pacing, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 11 Comments

Suspense in Stories…the Big Tease

Suspense is one of the storyteller’s biggest teases. It’s a state of waiting, of growing unease in the reader. Most stories consist of raising questions and delaying the answers. Suspense in its purest form heightens that sense of uncertainty. This … Continue reading

Posted in High Stakes, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized | 15 Comments

What Does It Mean To “Raise the Stakes”?

Yay! I’m happy to be back at WHW as a Resident Writing Coach. *waves* Last time I visited, we discussed how understanding the interconnectedness of our story elements can help us with revisions, and today we’re going to dig deeper … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, High Stakes, Motivation, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Tension, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 22 Comments

Conflict and Suspense Belong in Every Kind of Novel

What is the goal of the novel? Is it to entertain? Teach? Preach? Stir up anger? Change the world? Make the author a lot of money? It can be any of these things, but in the end, none of these … Continue reading

Posted in Conflict, High Stakes, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized | 14 Comments

Struggle With Show, Don’t Tell? Try This Ultimate Description Toolkit

Today I’m sharing some amazing tools as part of Verbaleyze’s  My Writing Toolkit event, in hopes you might find some new weapons in the battle for strong, compelling description. For those not familiar with VerbalEyze, they are a 501(c)3 nonprofit … Continue reading

Posted in About Us, Basic Human Needs, Character Arc, Character Flaws, Character Traits, Character Wound, Characters, Conflict, Description, Dialogue, Emotion, Emotion Thesaurus Guide, Empathy, High Stakes, Motivation, One Stop For Writers, Positive & Negative Thesaurus Guides, Revision and Editing, Setting Thesaurus Guides, Show Don't Tell, Subtext, Tension, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons, Writing Resources | 7 Comments

Tips on Upping The Stakes

It’s always great when we get Suspense & Thriller authors dropping in at The Bookshelf Muse, and today José Bográn is here to talk about upping the stakes. Creating and the escalating the stakes is something we all need to … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Guest Post, High Stakes, Uncategorized, Writing Lessons | 26 Comments

Want High Stakes? Amp up the Stress!

In the real world, we avoid stress whenever possible but in writing, the opposite is true. Why? Because in the land of the Three Act Structure (TAS), STRESS = CONFLICT. In the TAS, our main character has a need or … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Conflict, High Stakes, Writing Lessons | 33 Comments