Saw a cool article via Facebook last night discussing, “What are the stakes?” It basically posits that an audience will only read what matters to them. If the plot stakes are too low, they will either bypass your work altogether or may lose interest along the way. Basically, the story falls flat. But, as writers, we can consider our stakes from the very outset and help use them as a tool to retain focus and readability.
Maybe this is silly to admit, but to me there is a draw to write scenes rather than larger works of fiction, because plots typically frustrate me. For example, once I had an image of an outcast, brooding teen boy who was asked to paint a mural, and the end result was beyond amazing. He walked away with his friend-now-girlfriend, because she finally saw him within his full emotional spectrum. She saw maturity, depth, and sorrow where she had otherwise seen a rather poor boy next door.
The scene was simply the boy walking away from his work with his girl. Perhaps appealing, but why would anyone care? Sure, outcasts have a certain appeal, as does high school morosity it seems. Still, I’d never try to sell it, you know? It’s a vignette, you know?
It used to bother me that I was so . . . stunted with plots. Now I think this is because I have issues with plot stakes! This is actually a pretty major insight for me. 🙂 Right when I have another novel idea. Excellent!
Happy writing, guys!