Category Archives: High Stakes

How Stakes Set up Expectations

Last time I coached on Writers Helping Writers, I talked about 6 Tricks to Layer on Stakes, in it, I explained how I like to think of stakes as potential consequences–what could happen if a certain condition is (or is … Continue reading

Posted in Action Scenes, Characters, Conflict, High Stakes, Motivation, Pacing, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Tension, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 6 Comments

6 Tricks to Layer on Stakes

Stakes are what are at risk in a story. It might be that the protagonist’s life is at risk, or perhaps a romantic relationship, or maybe the opportunity to go on a long-awaited trip (Hello, Covid!). But I find this … Continue reading

Posted in Action Scenes, Character Arc, Characters, Conflict, Fear, High Stakes, Motivation, Pacing, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Tension, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 9 Comments

How a Career Can Reveal Your Character’s Deeper Layers

Did you know that before Becca became an author and writing coach, she was a teacher? It’s true. And if you know her, you’re probably thinking, I can see that. It makes sense. Why? Because when you think of a … Continue reading

Posted in Action Scenes, Backstory, Basic Human Needs, Character Arc, Character Flaws, Character Hobbies, Character Traits, Character Wound, Characters, Conflict, Description, Diversity, Fatal Flaw, Fear, High Stakes, Motivation, Occupation Thesaurus, One Stop For Writers, Pacing, Plotting, Show Don't Tell, Story Structure, Uncategorized, Villains, Writing Craft, Writing Resources | 1 Comment

The Easiest Way to Plan Characters in a Series: Cloning (Yes, Really!)

This spring, Becca and I released two very important tools for writers… The Emotion Thesaurus 2nd edition (expanded by 55 entries) and a Character Builder Tool at One Stop for Writers. These two releases happened within days of each other, … Continue reading

Posted in Backstory, Basic Human Needs, Character Arc, Character Flaws, Character Traits, Character Wound, Characters, Description, Emotion, Emotion Thesaurus Guide, High Stakes, One Stop For Writers, Series, Software and Services, Tools and Resources, Villains, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 2 Comments

Goal-Oriented Storytelling: Tension

This is the third post in my four-part series on ANTS, my framework for understanding what a story needs to keep readers engaged. Previously, I’ve covered attachment and novelty. Now it’s time to look at the big reason why stories … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Characters, Conflict, Emotion, High Stakes, Pacing, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Tension, Uncategorized, Villains, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 5 Comments

Story Goals: Are They Slowing Your Story’s Pace?

If we’ve spent any time learning about story craft, we know the importance of goals in our story. They affect every aspect of our story: Stories are about a problem to solve—a goal. Characters striving for something are more compelling. … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Characters, Fear, High Stakes, Motivation, Pacing, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized, Writing Craft | 12 Comments

And…Action! Applying TV Lessons to Chapter Hooks

We’ve probably all heard the advice to end our scenes and chapters on a hook. At the end of every scene or chapter, readers might put down our book and decide against picking it up again, so it’s important to … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Conflict, Experiments, Fear, Flashbacks, High Stakes, Resident Writing Coach, Series, Story Structure, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 8 Comments