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Raise the Stakes: The Ultimate Guide to Building Suspense in a Plot

Raise the Stakes: The Ultimate Guide to Building Suspense in a Plot

As a writer, you know building a foundation for your story, like a hook and sympathetic character, will allow you to grab readers right out of the starting gate. But once you’ve done this, do you know how to raise the stakes?

While a high stakes beginning grabs readers, it will only excite you and your reader for a few scenes. Without elevating stakes, your reader’s excitement about the plot will wear off if nothing bigger happens. Any interest in your story as a whole will flatten.

It’s human nature. We become inured. But you can avoid this happening by making the path of your book less like that flatland racetrack, and more like a jagged mountain range. With ups, downs, and an overall rise to the finish.

In this article, the word of the day is “stakes.”

As your story’s conflict progresses, the risks to your main character must intensify, keeping the reader invested in turning pages to find out what happens. Once you’ve laid the foundation for high suspense and captured your reader’s attention, you need to up the ante. Similar to the stakes of a hand of poker.

Finding ways to do this is not always easy, but when you put forth the effort, the results can be spectacular!

And there are practical strategies and tips you can use to do this.

How Long Does it Take to Write a Book?

How Long Does it Take to Write a Book?

How long does it take to write a book? Writing the first draft of a book is a grueling, intimidating process. But it doesn’t have to be a slow process.

Ask one hundred writers how long it takes them to write their first drafts and you’ll get one hundred different answers. There is no perfect length of time to spend on a first draft.

You will find, though, that the writers whose answer is closer to a couple of months than to a couple of years are most likely more successful.

How to Use Three-Act Structure to Write a Story Readers Can’t Put Down

How to Use Three-Act Structure to Write a Story Readers Can’t Put Down

Ideas always feel fully formed in our minds. But when we sit down to put them into words, the struggle begins. Ideas don’t just morph into narrative form. They resist our efforts, and soon the process of storytelling becomes torture.

Thankfully there are strategies you can use to overcome the stubborn nature of an idea and successfully rise to the challenge of writing a great story.

And one of the best strategies you can use is the Three-Act Structure.

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Short Story Tutorial

Short stories were once the training grounds for the best writers in the world. Discover how to write a short story, submit it to magazines, and get it published through this free short story tutorial.

Characterization Tutorial

Good characters are why people read stories, so make sure your characters are awesome. Hook your readers and draw them into the story in this free characterization tutorial.

Grammar Tutorial

Good Grammar might seem old fashioned, but editors and publishers still care about grammar. Avoid rejection and make your writing shine through this free grammar tutorial.


Interviewing Tutorial

Giving a good interview is a skill almost all professional writers need. Add depth, expertise, and precision to your writing through this free interviewing tutorial.

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