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Sunday, June 23

Sunday Writing Tip: Make Sure You Escalate Your Stakes

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Each week, I’ll offer a tip you can take and apply to your WIP to help improve it. They’ll be easy to do and shouldn’t take long, so they’ll be tips you can do without taking up your Sunday. Though I do reserve the right to offer a good tip now and then that will take longer—but only because it would apply to the entire manuscript.

This week, check your major plot turning points and make sure the stakes go up each time.


A lack of escalating stakes can make a novel feel static or even boring. As things in your plot get worse, you want the stakes to rise as well, matching the ever-worsening problems in the story. Rising stakes help with pacing, with making readers care, and with giving the story a sense of urgency.

For more on raising the stakes in your novel, try these articles:

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