Raising the stakes in our writing


     How do we do that?  Gee, I’m glad you asked.

     We give our protagonist a problem at every turn.  It can be a small problem such as a flat tire, or BIG problem such as what to do about that dead body in the middle of the living room.

     Cliffhangers, don’t we all love those?  End your chapters with one that will ensure your readers keep turning the pages.

     There’s the old time honored ticking clock where our protagonist must solve a big problem within a set time frame or there will be dire consequences.  Think about all those suspense movies that you enjoy, they have a deadline.

     Keep raising the tension, releasing it, and raising it again.  You can even do that with the scenery.  Is it night?  Foggy?  Is your hero heading into a mudslide?  You get the idea.

     Make your readers’ hearts pound.  Put your protagonist into so much danger that they catch themselves holding their breath.

About doggonedmysteries

Agented Mystery Writer, Bull Terrier owner--I have one at the present time, Avid gardener.

Posted on June 27, 2009, in My blog, Writer, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Some really great advice. Buttttt, some folks get so wound up with substituting action for tension they lose the plot. Did a few seminars where folks flat didn’t know the difference. As always, I love you’re site. Sandy

    • Unfortunately that is true Sandy. I’ve also found that they can lose their characters somewhere in all the tension.

      Writers, don’t forget your plot and characters! They are the story.

  2. PS I’m attending a WC that Charlaine Harris is on staff. I’m looking forward to meeting her. Sandy

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