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31 votes
Accepted

In a series, do the stakes have to be higher than in the book before?

There are two main mistakes that authors make when it comes to raising the stakes from one story to the next. The first is that they either raise the stakes too quickly, or simply don't know when to ...
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29 votes
Accepted

Is there a method to determining how many books long your series needs to be?

I would first point out that beginning writers with no commercial success will approximately never sell a multi-book series. The rule for a multiple-book story is relatively simple: The first book ...
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27 votes

Why would a character's parents allow them to go on a lethal quest?

I'm not sure about the general case, but in your specific case, it's worth noting that thievery is a pretty dangerous profession in its own right: There's obviously the threat of being caught by law ...
  • 9,861
23 votes

When do you have to kill a character?

There can be many reasons to kill a character. And there are also reasons not to. It depends on the kind of story you're writing as well as the audience you write it for. Here's 7 reasons to kill, and ...
  • 2,922
18 votes

Can a visual novel with branching plotlines be translated into one single book?

It is definitely possible to create books where people can make choices and take different story routes. They're called Gamebooks, and had their heyday in the 80's and 90's. They are also known as &...
  • 2,922
15 votes

What type of protagonists get happy endings?

It Largely Comes Down to Genre It’s rare for protagonists not to get some kind of happy ending, and a modern development to take a broader view of what kind of ending is a happy one, especially for a ...
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15 votes

In a series, do the stakes have to be higher than in the book before?

This is often done, and it avoids later books having a sense of anti-climax. But it can feel artificial, and lead to later books being over-the-top. It also depends on how closely the books are tied. ...
  • 4,252
13 votes

Why would a character's parents allow them to go on a lethal quest?

I think you’ve answered your own question: “she wants to go to give her family name a better reputation.” This could be her parents’ motivation as well. Going on a quest could be a once-in-a-lifetime ...
12 votes
Accepted

When do you reveal a backstory of a character?

Reveal It Whenever It Has the Most Emotional Impact Like many things in writing, there is no one "right" way to do everything. You could reveal the backstory of the character at the ...
12 votes

What type of protagonists get happy endings?

Happy endings tend to work for more relatable protagonists that feel like normal people. We expect Spiderman to have a happy ending; because people love Peter Parker, his awkward romance, his failures ...
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11 votes
Accepted

Can a character death sometimes be unnecessary?

Yes, sometimes it is entirely unnecessary to kill a character. If you just need to get the character "out of the way", for example so that the main character can no longer rely on their help ...
  • 2,922
10 votes

How do I know if my plotline is boring?

One common element that keeps a reader reading is the feeling that the stakes are rising and tension is building. There are other elements that could keep readers from putting your novel away, but the ...
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9 votes

What is the minimum requirement for a song to be considered a story?

No, your song represents an emotion; longing. Many songs do that. A story, at its minimum, is a sequence of causes and effects, typically leading the listener to wonder what happens -- and then get ...
  • 95.1k
9 votes

How do I know if my plotline is boring?

Alpha readers. The other answers address some ways this particular plot could be made more or less interesting. As far as the question of "how do I know how interesting my story is to other ...
9 votes

In a series, do the stakes have to be higher than in the book before?

Not at all. The other way to go is to use character development instead. For instance, give your main character several more or less obvious emotional wounds and then deal with them in turn throughout ...
  • 5,421
9 votes

In a series, do the stakes have to be higher than in the book before?

The other answers here have done a great job answering your question. If you need to do more research, I would recommend looking up Spectacle Creep and Power Creep. Spectacle Creep is when the writer ...
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9 votes

Why would a character's parents allow them to go on a lethal quest?

"What would be a reason why her parents would allow her to go on this long, dangerous journey, with some random person they just met?" They believe they raised her well, and they trust her ...
  • 2,922
8 votes
Accepted

How can you put a lot of time-skips as soon as possible in a story?

Now, I don't know if you would consider my suggestion within the 'rewriting' domain, but if "the good stuff" begins later in the story, perhaps the story itself should start closer to those ...
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8 votes
Accepted

Is it weak writing to have an evil character have the motivation of getting killed by the main character?

Such a motivation is deeply unusual. As a consequence, it would need a lot of development and demonstration to be convincing. Why on earth did the character decide that this is his goal? What is his ...
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8 votes
Accepted

How "resolved" do things need to be at the end of the first book of a trilogy?

End on a status quo. I suggest your book should end on a status quo (land the plane). Do not begin a new conflict that will go unresolved. A logical place to 'land the plane' is to end with the ...
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7 votes
Accepted

Can you ignore the 7 main beats of the story, what are some alternatives?

These aren't "the 7 main beats of the story". This is one writer's particular way of describing the outline of a story. There are hundreds of other methods of doing this. What they're ...
7 votes

When do you have to kill a character?

You don't have to kill characters in stories. Heck, most children's stories do not involve any deaths. But death is part of the typical adult human experience. The death of a loved one can be the most ...
  • 95.1k
7 votes

What are ways to get plot ideas or plot in general?

Sounds to me like you don't know why you're writing when you start. I believe that plot comes from character and that means putting your character in the worst situation possible for their personality ...
7 votes
Accepted

Are there situations where it makes sense to tell a character's plan even if it's going to fail?

The problem with telling the plan if it succeeds as planned is that it's redundant. Consider how seldom a story, however many points of view it has, has two characters describe the same scene. ...
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6 votes
Accepted

What are things you can do to insure your plot doesn't have hole while you're writing after you wrote the plot?

There are any number of times and places to discover and deal with plot holes. First, you mentioned writing out the whole plot before writing the story. This is a good way to make sure it all makes ...
  • 2,950
6 votes

How do I deal with "false filler" scenes necessary to move the plot along?

Disguise them. It is, admittedly, very difficult, but the scenes have to be made interesting in their own right at the time. (As an added bonus, this distracts from their purpose in the larger plot, ...
  • 7,414
6 votes

What are ways to get plot ideas or plot in general?

Don't scrap it, recycle it. One thing that has been recommended to me over and over again is to just keep writing. Even if it seems like you are going nowhere with it or the story isn't quite making ...
6 votes

Is it odd to have a bunch of characters with unique personalities and gimmicks in one place?

I think one answer to your question is found in comic books. Would there have been a Lex Luthor without superman? Would the molemen have attacked if it weren't for the existence of the Fantastic ...
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6 votes

What type of protagonists get happy endings?

In many cases, it depends on the change arc of the character. A character that follows a positive change arc almost demands a happy ending. It's not really that positive if it doesn't end with some ...
  • 5,421
6 votes

In a series, do the stakes have to be higher than in the book before?

Not at all. As a kid, my father read paperback mysteries, about one a month. We had dozens of them, and I read them too. (some were sexy, but my father let us read literally anything in the house.) ...
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