Creative Writing Prompt Project: Prompt 8 – Heighten the Stakes

This week I would like to explore raising the stakes in our scenes. For today’s prompt, you are going to craft a scene that raises the problem every five lines. So what that means is that every five lines, your characters are in even more peril than they were before.

That could mean, for example, that you have two characters set off on a quest. Five lines in, they encounter a killer rabbit. Five more lines in, the killer rabbit grows eight feet tall. Five MORE lines in, the killer rabbit now has a dragon buddy! This would be an external conflict — and these are usually great for sketches and comedy bits.

Or you could have internal stakes go up every five lines: a detective is interrogating a suspect. Five lines in, the detective realizes this suspect knew his long lost son. Five lines in, the suspect slips up and reveals a little more than she meant to reveal. Five more lines in, the detective gets frustrated with the pace of the interview… and so on. These might be smaller, or feel smaller, than the goofy external problems, but they can lend to really interesting character development and drama.

Next week is a prompt from one of YOU for me! If you’re a member of my Patron family, submit your prompt to me via Discord so I can get it up!

Just a reminder… For these prompts, I personally place an emphasis on film or play writing — but anything goes. Use these to fuel any creative endeavor. Feel free to review the project here.

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