Plot Depth - Public Stakes
It's a really exciting day today! We get to talk about plot. The next chapter is called Public Stakes.

Things can go wrong in so many different ways, don't you agree? We sometimes think: It can't get any worse than this. But it can. [And usually -- it does.]That is the essence that there is more to lose, promising even bigger disasters that will happen if the hero doesn't make matters come out okay. Who has not had a string of multiple disasters, run-ins with enemies, and just plain bad luck?

Everyday problems presented in an ordinary way, problems hat anyone might have on any given day, do not have the power to become universal; that is, to resonate within us and remind us of all humanity and its eternal struggles. But when stakes rise to a high enough order of magnitude, a protagonist's problems will become the problems that we all have. What was personal becomes public.

What about the outward, or public, stakes in your current novel? How far do they rise? How deep do they cut? How bad do they get? Take them higher and deeper. Make them worse; much worse. Your novel can only get better.

Some personal advice, there are some scenes or important plot points that just feel as if there's something more that should be done. See how you can make it worse. And worse. And worse. Make it a struggle. Put emotion into. Make it seem impossible. Who wants to read about a hero that overcomes the average struggle that we deal with every day?

Question of the Day:

What have you done to make everything crash down on your character? How have you made something worse?

Well, I tend to do this with my fight scenes almost all of the time. For those of you who know my MC, Bryce Bourbon, he has the unique ability to heal himself and others. This ability is limited only to him, and for that reason, when there's a fight going on, it's his sole responsibility that everyone feels as little pain as possible.

The last fight scene of the third book, Bryce was fighting with five other people. As the first person gets hurt, his team covers for him while he runs to heal her. But the opponent is too difficult for him to put on the shoulders of his partners. So every time he goes to heal a deadly wound, another gets wounded. And another, and another. So he's constantly having to chose between healing one person over the other or fighting to protect them all while allowing the wounded to die.

So, there's too much for an average person to handle at stake. As the fight continues downward, it doesn't look as if anything could get worse. It has to get worse. Just has to.

One of the few ignorant comrades on the field, lands a lucky lethal blow to the devil. Before she realizes what she had done, she was consumed by the evil "will" that chose her for its next host. With dead allies on one side of him, weakened friends on the other, Bryce has to face one of his hardest decisions: should he kill his best friend now or should he save the few friends left alive?

As if that wasn't hard enough, he then had to go back home, face her husband and her baby boy along with his other dead comrades' families.

Things can always get harder. The stakes can always be higher. And the loss can always get larger. It might suck putting your character through such hard times (or killing off a character you love dearly), but sometimes it's the best route your story could go. Imagine the impossible.
1 Response
  1. Hmm. I pretty much made my MCs life hell because I killed her parents, had someone blackmail her, murdered many people around her, and murdered her boyfriend as well. ;) It's all part of the story though, and these awful aspects of my MCs life make the story and the mystery behind it more interesting.

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