Establish Story Stakes Landing


establish story stakes


Create tension and urgency by designing stakes that give each character things to lose or gain.

Picture of Barbara Vance

Barbara Vance





video runtime



Course Description

Stakes make us care about a character’s predicament. If we don’t appreciate what is to be won or lost, the plot and characters wont interest us. Suspense depends on stakes. We must also constantly be resolving old stakes and making new ones. This course will help you choose and plan stakes so that there are always new levels of tension being created and dissipated, keeping your reader on the edge of her seats.

This workshop addresses:

This course includes

What's Inside

This course includes extensive notes to follow along with the video lessons, and a workbook that will get you started planning your stakes.

What People Are Saying


“Very good course. Great workbook. I was surprised at how much this actually made me flesh my character out and consider her feelings at many different points in the story. One thing I’ve learned moving through the story system is how most creative writing courses treat character development based on the character at the start. Barbara is concerned with who the character is on every page. So good.”

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“This is a great lead-in to the build suspense workshop. I was glad I had outlined all of my stakes before I took that one. The varieties of stakes were really helpful—I didn’t have variety in mine, but when Barbara explained them all I saw a lot more nuance in my story.”

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“This class is a gold mine when it comes to considering stakes. I think it and the build suspense course really go together. This helps you plot out the suspense in your story.”

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“Very good. I like how all of the types of stakes are addressed—it helped me really consider the events in my story and what was on the line with each. Gave it a lot more depth.”

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Barbara Vance, PhD

I am a writer and instructor who has been blessed to help thousands of writers bring their stories to life.

My degrees include a B.A. in literature, an MA in Literature and Creative Writing, and a PhD in storytelling and media. Prior to launching my own company, I taught writing and storytelling at a tier-one university.

Over the past sixteen years I have developed a widely acclaimed collection of courses designed to help writers develop their stories, stay on track, and finish what they start . . . even while juggling busy careers and a family.

I am also the author of a multi-award-winning poetry collection, and my poems are licensed for use in anthologies and curricula around the world.

No Risk 7-day, Money-back Guarantee

If you take the course and don’t feel like it helped, simply reach out to us, show us you have made an effort, and we will refund your full investment.

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