Blogs by Joseph Amiel
How Does a Writer Raise the Stakes to the Next Level?
12/3/2012 1:56:31 PM
Jeopardy is not just a game, it's at the heart of a thriller. And each time the jeopardy increases, the stakes are raised in the novel and for the reader.
In the TV show Jeopardy, the stakes get doubled part way through the show and, at the end, what a contestant risks and answering correctly can win or lose thousands or dollars and, perhaps more important, top the other contestants to earn a return visit to win more money.
In my legal thriller, A QUESTION OF PROOF http://amzn.to/VjmDzX, I raise the stakes several times, all at pivotal moments in the novel.
Dan Lazar, is a renowned criminal-defense lawyer, but divorced and badly missing his son, burned-out and disillusioned by his success at winning acquittals for people he knows are guilty of horrendous crimes, he is ready to call it quits. But then, unexpectedly, he falls in love with Susan Boelter, the estranged wife of an autocratic newspaper publisher, who is threatening to take everything from her in divorce proceedings, including custody of their daughter. When Peter is found dead and Susan is suspected of his murder, Susan's happiness and, thus, Dan's as well are suddenly put at risk, raising the stakes.
When he agrees to her entreaty that he defend her at the murder trial, an unorthodox and personally wrenching arrangement that puts more at risk for Dan.
The stakes are raised even higher by Dan's urgent need to use his lawyering skill to save at least one person he can truly believe is innocent, in this case the woman he loves. But is she innocent or merely using him?
Ultimately, virtually everything Dan's finds worth living for are at stake and turn on a question of proof. Jeopardy is not just a game, it's at the heart of a thriller.
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More Blogs by Joseph Amiel
How Does a Writer Raise the Stakes to the Next Level? - Monday, December 03, 2012
Do Thrillers Always Need to Play on a Large Canvas? - Saturday, November 24, 2012
How Do You Write a Good Legal Thriller? - Monday, November 12, 2012
Which Comes First Plot or Character? - Tuesday, October 23, 2012