Stakes and Why I write
Good morning bloggers! Focusing on chapter 7 & 8 in Writing the Breakout Novel.

Today's lesson is on PERSONAL STAKES! Probably one of my favorite things to focus on when writing. What is the character's motivation? What drives her to do this? Why did he do that instead of that?

Personal stakes are more than just what a hero wants to do. They illustrate why. Why this goal and the action that must be performed matters in a profound and personal sense. The more it matters to your hero -- the more it'll matter to the readers.

Have you ever been in a relationship with someone jealous? Every single time your partner would ask why you did something, you could shoot an answer out immediately. You might not think you had a reason for doing something, but if asked, you always have an answer. There is a reason people do everything they do. Your character should -not- be different.

So, what are Ultimate Stakes? Even larger personal stakes. They are the stakes when life absolutely tests us. We become more determined than ever to make a difference, to persist, to overcome all problems and obstacles. At the moment of ultimate testing we summon our deepest beliefs and swear that nothing, nothing, will stop us. These moments people realize there is absolutely no turning back.

So here is a quick exercise to throw in personal stakes:
What is the mail conflict/goal/need/desire?
What could make this problem matter more the the protag?
When you run out of reasons, ask yourself what could make this problem matter even more than that?
Finally, what makes this problem seem to matter more than life itself?

As always, if you have an in-depth questions, feel free to comment/e-mail me your question.

Question of the Day:

Why do you write?

Whew, what a big question. I'm in the mood to tackle it today, though.

1. I write because I feel like I should give back to the people what so many have given to me. There was nothing more in the world that I loved than a wonderful book. Nothing. So when I became a late-teenager, I decided I would do my damnedest to give back. I want someone to read my book and be happy they paid how ever much on it.

2. Before I started writing, I was literally buying five to six books a week. As a teenager, that was all I could really afford. It was getting fairly expensive, and not to mention, after reading so much -- books become predictable. Some people's writing was so wonderful, that I didn't mind predictable. Most weren't though. So I started weaving a story that would push limits. That would surprise. That would have an unexpected turn. That would make you cry. Or laugh out. That would make you dream. Perhaps look at the luxuries today and be thankful.

3. I want to prove to myself I can do it. The first book that I thought was absolutely amazing -- flopped. (I look back and realize why it flopped, and it's honestly a big pile of horse shit). But that isn't the point. I set out to do something. Failed the first time. So I'm doing it better this time. Way better.

4. Who doesn't look at the success of writers and think, what if that was me! You know, what if I could really make a living off being a writer? Sure I could always go into journalism, but that's not what I want. I want to write urban fantasy. And getting paid to live in worlds -- how wonderful a thought.

5. Most importantly, I. Love. It. I love the story, I love my characters, I love every inch of the process. I love outlining. I love the typing. I love the aggravation. The smiles. When I cry myself to sleep. I love it.
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