Stakes are not Just for Vampires

It’s Halloween time! Finally, October. It put me in mind of ghosts, goblins, and vampires. I don’t know about you, but if I met an actual vampire, I’d want to keep some stakes handy. But authors need them, too.

Stakes are the reason people care about your story. The better you have communicated them, the more sticky your story will be. If you don’t have any compelling stakes, your readers will set your book down, walk away, quit reading. When I edit, I will always look for the stakes.

I’m asking the question:

What does your protagonist lose if they walk away from this problem?


What sacrifice does your protagonist have to make for everything to turn out okay?

You need to answer these two questions, and if you can’t answer them? It’s time for revisions.

Remember, the higher the stakes, the more your readers will care about your story. Make sure you get this right.

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Cheryl Murphy is Asian with brown hair in a single braid and a smirk.

ACES: the society for editing


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