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When it comes to writing, don’t let sleeping dogs lie

If you want to write a page turner, you must have conflict. What’s more, you have to raise the stakes. Have you ever heard that saying, “Just when you didn’t think it could get any worse….” If you want to write a page turner, you have to make things worse just when the reader didn’t think it could get any worse.

Writer and literary agent Donald Maass knows this. Here are several questions he urges writers to ask themselves about their work in progress:

1. What’s at stake? How can you raise the stakes so that there’s more to lose, gain, fear?

2. What gives your protagonist hope? How can you crush that hope?

3. What does your protagonist regret? Can you create a situation that amplifies the regret?

4. What tools or resources does your protagonist possess to help solve her problem? Can you take one away or put a block in her path? Force her in a new direction?

Maass believes its possible to write a book that appeals to readers on a commercial and literary level. For more insight that will take your writing to new heights, check out his book Writing 21st Century Fiction: High Impact Techniques for Exceptional Storytelling.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thanks for the suggestions. I will have to keep these questions in mind when I start looking over my plotlines.

    January 6, 2014
  2. Great tips & wonderful photo – is puppy yours?

    January 6, 2014
    • He or she? is a cutie, yes, but alas not mine. I’m a sucker for cats and dogs (and pictures of them too πŸ™‚

      January 6, 2014
  3. Good tips. While some of them are reminders of familiar things the one on regret is new to me, and it seems like a powerful and useful tool.

    January 7, 2014

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