The answer to my tension question
A short time ago, I wrote about a dilemma I was facing with my plot… about how to increase the stakes, and add more tension in the story.
You can read the original post here. But here's a quick summary: As a writer, I didn’t think the family baby getting kidnapped was a critical situation for Hazel. Does she care? Sure, she’s not heartless… but, she’s also a cat, and comfortable with her routine. So as long as her favorite person and her home weren’t affected, this may or may not have been something she was willing to risk her own safety for.
Of course, there are real life cats that protect young family members. If you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favor and watch this video of a hero cat that saves a young boy from a dog attack. It’ll put a smile on your face for sure!
But, for the purposes of my book, I wasn’t sure if this was compelling. But, there are two ways I’ll fix this plot problem…
First, I will put Piper (Hazel’s person) in danger. The kidnapper will come back to the house after the cats foil their plan. And this time, he means business — the whole family, cats included, will be in danger.
But, in order to increase the stakes BEFORE that final showdown, the cats will all realize that the loss of the baby means the loss of their comfort, security, and way of life.
They’ll discuss it amongst themselves. Mini, who wasn’t too happy to have the new baby in their home in the first place, will be the primary one to argue against risking their lives to go save her. While Gus and Hazel will begin to realize that a missing baby means an unhappy family.
Maybe the cats will stop getting attention and playtime. Maybe the humans will forget to feed them. And maybe the humans will leave the blinds shut as they mourn their loss… which means, no more sunny spots to curl up and take a nap!
There are plenty of ways in which the loss of the baby could threaten everything the cats know and love about their current life. So, despite their differences and disagreements, it will be worth it for them to team up and work together, venturing into the great unknown world outside the house in order to rescue the baby and bring her home.
I’ll have more snippets and story planning ideas to share with you later. In the meantime, feel free to leave feedback on my Facebook page!