I haven’t posted much lately because I’m revising madly and critiquing a manuscript for a friend I met at a workshop. It’s got me thinking about raising the stakes. Sure it’s important to make the situation worse, to add layers of complication so that a happy ending seems impossible.
But raising the stakes is secondary to creating a character the reader cares about. The protagonist doesn’t need to save the world. He only needs to save his world, and make the reader believe this world is worth saving.