A lot of our conversation at the Writer's Retreat this week has related to how to generate and raise the stakes in fiction. In basic terms, giving a novel "stakes" means, simply, giving the reader reason to care: a goal that the main character is trying to achieve that the reader can invest and believe in. This is usually framed as "Character X needs to achieve Y or else Z". Below I've listed "stakes," from least to most interesting.
1. Casey needs to buy toilet paper, or else it will be really embarrassing next time she goes to the bathroom.
2. Casey needs a date to the prom, or else she will be all alone on the dance floor and everyone will know she's a loser.
3. Casey needs to figure out the mystery of the murder next door, or else she might be next.
4. Casey needs to find the Bermuda Triangle and the secret key located within it, or else the whole world will explode.
So THIS challenge will be slightly different. Rather than having you all attempt a paragraph/passage, please write 1 example of a BAD/LOW stakes premise, and 1 example of a good/HIGH stakes premise. As always, I will post responses on my blog!