Creating STAKES, Part 2
Working with a Master List
In Part I of how to create STAKES in your book or script, I started here with the reason the subject of stakes has been so heavy on my mind.
This week I’m breathing better about the future of the U.S.! So I’m ready to take a deeper look at how to create STAKES by using a Master List.
The Master List is a core technique in my Screenwriting Tricks for Authors workbooks and workshops. For those just joining, the key to this is to generate examples from stories you love and that have had significant impact on you, and then watch the films (or key scenes from them) to spot the techniques the storytellers are using to create that impact.
(Here’s an example: generating a list of scenes that make you cry to study techniques of creating Catharsis.)
So to study techniques of creating Stakes, first make your list. I usually suggest starting with mostly movies rather than books, because it’s easier and faster to spot storytelling techniques in a movie - that you can also watch in entirety in about two hours, rather than the multiple days it takes to read a book.
But with a subject like stakes, you may find yourself thinking of more book examples! Movies have a depressing tendency to use fake stakes: the end of the world in some implausible way.
But here are some movies that keep the stakes real for me.
The Hunger Games
Silence of the Lambs
It’s a Wonderful Life
The Wizard of Oz
Lord of the Rings
I’m not going to get through that whole list today! But let’s take a look at a few.
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