Alida and Robert discuss stakes and tension. What do they mean for both tragedy and comedy? How are trouble, stakes, and tension separate but related aspects of story? As always, the conversation is full of examples.

Show Notes:

What is the difference between stakes, tension and danger, and how can we use them correctly to create a compelling story? How do you increase stakes without ending the world? And why should they be personal to your protagonist? How do you make readers really feel the tension? Use these three to craft a surprising story, no matter your genre.

What we talked about:

How are stakes and tension defined and related? (0:23)

How can you keep upping the stakes (ie in a series) without ending up with the whole universe on the line? (1:44)

What makes us care about the stakes? (3:19)

The difference between danger and stakes. (5:24)

So where does tension fit? (8:40)

How do you make the readers feel the tension? (9:52)

How can you keep your stakes and tension surprising to your readers? (14:33)

Make it personal! (16:58)

What is the difference between danger, stakes, and the reader’s tension? (19:10)

How the release of tension functions for the reader. (22:40)

Things we mentioned:

Story Grid podcast with Shawn Coyne
Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
Austin Powers

Want more about these topics? Check out:

Flash Tip: Frypan to Fire
60 second tip: Going Up? Stakes & Tension
SWRT 25: Trouble

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


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