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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!

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

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