This week, Alida, Robert, & Kathryn explore the relationship between stakes & agency. How do these vital aspects of plot and character function together to drive your story?




What are stakes? And how does your characters agency interact with them? How do you make your stakes personal and individual for your character? And how can you use your stakes to evaluate your plot structure? How should the stakes change through the story? And how do the stakes affect your characters actions? Remember, your characters agency must be the thing that drives your story forward!

What we talked about:

What are the definitions of stakes and agency? (1:12)

Your character must be making the choice to move forward – make the stakes personal to your character. (2:45)

Your character agency has to be believable. (4:55)

How do you keep increasing the stakes across a series? (6:08)

Stakes must come down to the individual. (10:04)

Does every scene need something at stake? (12:15)

How to use stakes to evaluate your story. (17:10)

Are stakes win/lose? (18:45)

Are the stakes changing with every choice the character makes? (21:55)

Stakes are about moving the story forward. (23:35)

Each new revelation the character need to play out in the story. (26:08)

Your protagonists agency must be the thing that ends your story! (27:44)


Things we mentioned:

Shawn Coyne 
Buffy the Vampire Slayer 
The War of the Worlds by HG Wells
Story by Robert McKee
The Story Works Guide to Writing Character 

Want more about these topics? Check out:

SWRT 32: Stakes & Tension
SWRT 8: Active Protagonists

Have thoughts, questions, other examples? Join the conversation at the Story Works Writers Facebook group

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