So, I've been trying to write this post for two weeks. And then I went to see Inception and wanted to combine that post with something that struck me while I was watching it. But the two ideas, while compatible, could serve as two separate posts, so this post I will be talking about stakes and then the next post I will be talking about killing, and then after that I will tell you about the pitfalls of being both a writer and an English Literature student at the university level.
Right. So. STAKES.
Please be aware that this post will include spoilers for Inception. Which you should have seen. I am always the very last person to see a movie. And I have seen it. Therefore, you should have seen it as well.
The stakes in the movie are very clear from the get go. Cobb, with the help of trusty sidekicks, must plan an idea in the mind of Fischer, Jr. In return, he will be able to return to his family, from which he has been separated from on account of the United States government wanting to lock him up. The inception will take place on a plane headed for Los Angeles - if he doesn't succeed, the authorities will arrest him the minute he touches down on US soil. If he does, he's a free man.
And then it was.
Before I tell you how it was, let's back up. Because one thing went into making this moment SO OMG WHAT WHAT WHAT?!
I loved Saito. I loved him so much. I was invested in his fate.
So when he was shot, I was horrified that they might give him the kick and then he would be gone for the rest of the movie. No. No they didn't. Instead, he was actually dying and if he did die, he would float down to limbo and sit there, forgetting about reality, until he actually died.
And suddenly, Cobb and Company have an entirely new, just as pressing, reason to complete the mission in the alloted time. Because they could lose Saito forever. And Saito is the key to Cobb getting his family back. He's the only one who can make it happen.
This is what I've been trying to do with my work. Because you can't just have stakes. You have to have stakes that matter. And they have to be deeply enmeshed with the rest of the story - with its characters, with the story line, with the inevitability of whatever resolution it must come to. And finding those stakes is hard. Finding it in yourself to put those stakes to the test, to the very limit is sometimes even harder.
How do you guys do it? Any good examples? TELL ALL, IF YOU PLEASE.
I CANT BELIEVE IT HAPPENED