Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Raising the Stakes

I think TWFT blogged about this, and a fellow follower, Elizabeth Prats, blogged about this, but I think it's my turn to blog about this because I didn't raise the stakes as much as I thought I had in Witch Tourniquet. But it's not a big deal for me because there are no major re-writes involved. I just have to drop a hint here and there, or just tweak some things or two.

Here was my dilemma: you guys have been reading teasers in Witch Tourniquet, and you may have read a teaser which mentioned a cross. If you have read this teaser, then you'll know it supposedly sent her demonic visions. But that's all my beta readers know. I reveal too late why exactly the cross is a danger, so I have to reveal it much earlier, which, again, isn't a big deal because I know of a perfect place to drop the info.

I have other stakes to raise as well, but those are no big deal either because I planned on re-writing two chapters of a certain character's POV where the stakes are going to have to be raised.

As a writer, it's hard to know where and when to raise the stakes in your novel, especially in YA where the pace is naturally faster. All I can say is that if your gut is telling you that there is too much information being revealed or too much information being revealed too late, sit down and think of all the major spoilers in your novel. Muse when you reveal them and in what abundance you reveal them. You don't want to reveal them too early, but you don't want to reveal them too late. I reveal the cross's true evils in chapter nine, which is about a hundred pages into the novel. Frankly, I was worried I revealed it too early. I was also worried I revealed later information too early, but after conversing with my beta reader, I realized that I think I revealed the information at just the perfect time.

It's complicated to know when you should raise the stakes (well, mostly for me because I've been stuck with Witch Tourniquet for years and this is the first time ever that it's actually getting some serious revisions). But I suppose if you stay away from your novel a bit and come back to it with fresh eyes, it will be easier to know to where to drop your 'raising the stakes' card.


Elizabeth said...

It's true. Sometimes its best to let the novel sit and then listen to your gut. If you have a feeling that something is missing or is needed-it probably is.

Nazarea said...

I think outside critique is so important. 15 minutes of honest critique and suggestions have made a world of diffference in mine. Great post, hun.