Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Upping the Stakes

I recently had a meeting with a wonderful editing team at a local publishing company. We had a great discussion about how to create a strong climax/ending in a book.

One of the principles mentioned was helping the reader understand what it is at stake. For example, in Suzanne Collins Hunger Games, the stakes are clear: each of the contestant’s lives is on the line, as well as the reputation and future of their respective districts. In Harry Potter, it’s not only Harry’s life at stake, it’s the future of the wizarding community and the world. In Fablehaven, the safety of the magical preserves, magical objects, magical creatures, and the good of the world is at stake.

So what’s at stake I your book? Why does it matter?

During the climax/ending of your book, does the choice of the hero/heroine determine the fate of the world? Of their own soul? Does the reader clearly understand that? Chances are, the higher the stakes (as long as we don’t get too far-fetched), the more satisfying the experience for the reader.

Tiffany Dominguez
Freelance Writer: YA Fiction

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