Finally I got to see this movie I've been wanting to see for months. The previews rocked and I'm happy to say that I loved the movie too. :-)
As I was watching it in the theater (yay!), I was processing the format of the storytelling, the characters, the dialogue, even how the director used the setting and visuals to create mood.
I immediately connected to the heroine because she was a little girl imprisoned by a wicked queen. I rooted for her to be free and cheered (inwardly, of course) when she escaped.
Then came my AHA moment.
A hero is tracked down, a guy who can follow the heroine into dark places and bring her back. I didn't want him to. I wondered why he would.
Then the evil queen offers him something that made my breath clench and immediately hooked me into the story.
You see, the hero is found drunk and careless. He's a widower who lost his way when his beloved wife was murdered.
The wicked queen sees his loneliness...his pain. She has evil powers and offers to bring his wife back from the dead if he'll find the heroine.
He has everything to gain if he does this thing. Who couldn't relate to missing someone so badly you'd do almost anything to get them back? Who couldn't empathize with the hero's pain?
And that was when I was hooked for good. The conflict was set. I wanted the heroine free, but I also wanted this hero to get his wife back.
I'm torn...and I'm perched on the edge of my seat to see what will happen next.
This is what having high stakes in your story can do. It creates believable and seemingly insurmountable conflict that will cause the reader to flip pages. Not only that, but high stakes create empathy.
I haven't done a whole lot of high stakes writing in my books so far. I'm still learning and will definitely be incorporating this into my future works.
If you're a writer, what kind of stakes is your protagonist facing? How can you heighten them? Readers, do you know what movie I'm referencing? *grin* If you've seen it, who did you root for and why?