How To Create A Character That Raises The Stakes

The original Star Wars movies are classics I absolutely love! Although I am not much of a speculative buff, I do enjoy this series. There is so much to learn about characters watching each episode.

As writers we are constantly looking for new ways to up the stakes in our scenes and create more conflict. We usually look for the traditional villain, enemy or someone in our lives that causes us anxiety.

What about the character that is just obnoxious by nature and has a way of saying absolutely the wrong thing at the wrong time? Many times this character is well-meaning, but just manages to cause difficulty for their friends.

In Winnie the Pooh it is Rabbit. He can be a bit bossy and have certain rules for doing things. This causes some conflict for the characters, but everyone still loves him.

In Star Wars one of these characters is C3PO. He is a needed character because of his abilities with language gives richesness to the story, but he also raises the stakes.

(Stakes are simply showing what the character has to loose if they don’t reach their goal.)

Here are a few examples of C3PO stakes:

*The chances of surviving are ________ to one. (fill this number in at different times during the show. Once when Luke and Han Solo are stuck in a snow storm. Another when they are trying to survive the asteroid field. C3PO says the chances of survival and that ups the stakes. (It shows the stakes are life and death.)

*When R2D2 and C3PO bring a message to Jabba from Luke Skywalker and Jabba says there will be no negotiations, then C3PO says, “We’re doomed.” He isn’t just talking about the droids, but all of them. This raises the stakes. (It shows the stakes are life and death for all of them.)

*Later at Jabba’s C3PO is interpreting when he says to Luke Skywalker, “Master Luke, you are standing on…” He doesn’t say what, but we know that danger is around the corner. That he is at great risk of capture. That is what he has to lose in this scene.

C3PO also has a way of raising conflict throughout the series just be being annoying at moments when other characters are trying to focus on something else. Still, he is one of the good guys.

Have you scene some characters that are great at raising the stakes?

Help us out by sharing them and an example with the rest of us.



About Michelle Lim

Author Michelle Lim is the Brainstorming/Huddle Coach with My Book Therapy Press and the Midwest Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. Michelle’s romantic suspense is represented by Karen Solem of Spencillhill Associates and has gained contest recognition in the Frasier, the Genesis, and the Phoenix Rattler, winning the Genesis in 2015 for her genre. Michelle writes devotionals for The Christian Pulse Online Magazine and Putting On The New. Since her nonfiction book release, Idea Sparking: How To Brainstorm Conflict In Your Novel, through public speaking and online chats Michelle helps writers discover the revolutionary power of brainstorming to bring new life to their stories.

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