Thursday, July 10, 2008

Upping the Stakes

Missy here. I've got pacing and upping the stakes on my mind right now since I'm working on that in my revisions for His Forever Love, my Steeple Hill Love Inspired due out in June 09.

One of the comments I got in my revision letter is that I can't let them date! It's too soon and dissolves the internal conflict, and the only thing left holding them apart are the external things (mainly that he's going to be leaving town).

I've thought about the story a lot, and as I've been cutting out the date scenes, I've realized how it really did kill the romantic tension in the first version. I can feel the tension being added back in as I've changed the scenes.

But what's ironic is that when I planned my scenes, I thought of the date as a way to up the stakes. Goodness, now they've gone out on a date, and they're starting to like each other, so it makes it even worse that he's going to be leaving to go back to Boston! But it just didn't work out that way.

I should have learned this lesson in Her Unlikely Family! But I guess I didn't. I'm still learning with each book. And next time... no dates, no kisses, no liking each other! LOL

How do you up the stakes in your story without killing the conflict? Can you give us an example of a scene that does that?

Missy (p.s. I'll be away from computer today, but I look forward to seeing your ideas on Friday!)


  1. Okay, if I didn't get it changed before you read the post, then let me say I hate that I spelled "worst" intead of worse! LOL

    I'll try to change it now. :)

    And I did get to get online after all!


  2. I think you do a great job of upping the stakes.
    I'm still in the beginning of my ms, so I'm trying to think of ways of upping the stakes.
    Of course as my cp you'll be able to help me out.

  3. I just debated all afternoon about whether or not to move a scene later into the story. It reveals that he really cared for the heroine when they were teenagers.

    For now, I decided to leave it, mainly because the pages are such a mess, I need to finish typing in all the changes, then start with a fresh copy. I've got chicken scratch all over the front and backs of pages! :)

    Lindi, we need to brainstorm your story soon.

  4. I have the chicken scratch mess too. I'm in the process of trying to lengthen a story from 50K to around 75K. That means I have to do exactly what you're talking about, Missy, upping the stakes. For one thing I've had to go back in and make their goals and motivation more srong from the beginning. I think in the earlier version I had them resolve it too soon and then introduced new external conflicts. This time I'm going to draw out the internal conflict and add the external conflict on top of everything else. I want to layer in more emotion and tension as well. I'm hoping this will do the trick. We'll see.