Sunday, March 16, 2008

Raising the Stakes

I have not read enough by fiction writers about writing to find out what others feel their strengths and weaknesses are. Some things come naturally for me.

The plot is the essential thing for me. Keep the plot moving toward a climax.

I have a feel for the issues of control of the plot. Before I begin writing, I know the direction and the final destination. But I do not know each step and learn the way as I go. And sometimes I find a new direction and twist, but I always keep moving ahead.

The characters live for me. They feel unique with unique voices.

I have difficulty with two issues. I have discussed my difficulty with decisions about moving the plot ahead, vs. creating an atmosphere.

I also sometimes have difficulty with raising the stakes. Not only does the conflict have to take place. For much of the plot, the protagonist has to face difficulty in moving ahead. Sir Edmund Hillary does not just start at the bottom of the mountain, then execute a plan for climbing and make it to the top. Sir Edmund must sacrifice, suffer, face death, etcetcetc.

So after I write a few scenes, I often must then look into what I have written and say, "Are the stakes high enough for enough of these scenes?" Often I find that I have work to do.

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