Saturday, 28 December 2013

12 days of writing: tension and stakes

Deeper stakes and rethinking tension

If you don't have a premise already, use this one: Why did the protagonist fake those maps?

And now we raise the stakes and ratchet up the tension and raise the stakes. What's at stake gives us our tension - that's why it matters, so explore that first, through yourself and then your character. The tension itself isn't always negative: tension, conflict, etc. We have all sorts of rich ways to create narrative tension. Use the prompts to create stakes and tension for your premise - write about each one for about 10 minutes (20 mins per pair).

Deeper stakes: what passionate ambition do you hold? What about your character?
Rethink tension as... EXCITEMENT. What is your character excited about?

Deeper stakes: what's your most uncompromising belief? What is your character's?
Rethink tension as... INNER CONFLICT. What contradictions tangle your character's self?

Deeper stakes: what painful hope burns in you? What about your character?
Rethink tension as... HOPE. What is your character hoping for? Find their thrill!

For more on tension and stakes, you can download the Story Elements: The Complete Set - only available until 30 December 2014. Find out more, see previews, and download it here.

Tomorrow, we're writing about... beginnings.

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