Throw them into the Abyss -raising the stakes in your Breakout Novel

You have taken your character and exposed their blemishes. They haven’t always been the good friend/daughter/part of the team. They’ve had their problems with the principal/the Sargent/the head cheerleader and it seems like the cards are stacked against them ever making the squad/becoming a wizard/making their bed. But they still believe that Izabel is innocent/Miss Gulch must be stopped/Billy will notice them.

According to Donald Maass, author of Writing the Breakout Novel, once you have helped the reader know your character, pimples and all, and given them something they hold dear, you have created human worth. A character they can cheer for. Now it is time to raise the stakes and make them suffer. Raising the stakes need not mean they are running to save mankind although thriller authors often do just that.

In my plausible but not predictable sample premise from Supercharge your Novel Premise here, aging rock star wannabe Simon just might be the worst Drivers Ed student ever. He and his musically challenged band mates finally get a gig (cheer) at the local moving truck rental company for the big Sunday promotion. There’s an accident on the highway. The ZZ Top truck was on its way to Rockford. The truck is totaled. “I need your biggest truck and a driver”, wheezes the roadie. “How about that guy?” nodding toward Simon setting up the amps. This is Simon’s big break. The future of blues-based boogie rock (thanks Wikipedia!) depends on him. But wait, Simon can’t drive!

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About Gary Baker

Writer specializing in Mystery, Travel, and Humor. I should write something funny about traveling to a mysterious Island.
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