“Stakes, suspense, and agency,” those were the three elements drilled into me in a creative writing class many many years ago. Give your characters something to lose, give them a worsening problem, and give them the power to do something about it, the instructor told us, and you’ll solve three-quarters of your narrative problems.
I think back on that trilogy a lot when I review comics, because sure enough those are often the three elements that make the difference between a book that works and one that I yearn to put down. I don’t mean to say that I assign review scores based solely on whether they meet those
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