I hope after our session on story stakes your brain is bursting with new ideas on how to poke at your character’s sensitive spots! Using stakes to force characters to conquer their fears, overcome challenges, face danger, and fight for growth and change will pull readers in and keep tension high.
Remember to vary your stakes so readers have the best reading experience, and weave in those Emotional Touchstones!
More Articles on Story Stakes
Conflict and Suspense Belong in Every Type of Novel
Raising the Stakes
6 Tips to Layer on Stakes
How Stakes Set up Expectations
Raise the Stakes by Making It Personal
How to Turn Your Setting into an Obstacle Course
Resources to Help You
A Quiet Place: This movie I mentioned really is a master class in raising the stakes!
Story Stake Tracker (Download): I created this worksheet just for you in hopes that it would help you to think about the types of stakes you’re using throughout a story and see at-a-glance if you are using the same ones over and over. Download it, print, and enjoy!
Character Motivation Thesaurus: This descriptive database at One Stop for Writers can help you brainstorm your plot as it looks at key story elements: the character’s goal, inner motivation, cost, sacrifices, and roadblocks that may get in the way, and best of all, what the fallout will be if your character fails to achieve their story goal (stakes). Use the Free Trial to gain full use of this resource. Here’s a sample entry in this database.
The Character Builder: While I’m pointing you to resources, I’d be remiss to not mention this hyper-intelligent tool at One Stop for Writers.
The Character Builder not only helps you brainstorm a character step-by-step by offering you ideas straight from our THESAURUS database, it also will show you how all the story elements mentioned above are connected by building an accurate Character Arc Blueprint. (Use the Free Trial to build a character and try it for yourself, or watch this walkthrough video to see a blueprint of a character created with this tool.)
Or, if you just need a brainstorming nudge, we also have a Story Stakes Generator at the site, too.
Finally, grab yourself this printable Tip Sheet on RAISING THE STAKES. (Download it here.)
If you find One Stop for Writers helpful and want to try it out in full, use the code:
& select the 1-month plan when you subscribe. This will give you 50% off a full month!
Thank you again for inviting me to nerd out about story stakes with you! If you have any follow up questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me here. Happy writing!