Thursday, March 7, 2013

What's Your Story Premise?

Every writer has an idea on where his or her story is going to take them, or should. The difficulty encountered is with the precision of the thought. One suggested exercise to distill, or to separate the wheat from the chaff (to use an old cliché), is to create a premise.

What is that you ask? It's a simple one sentence statement of the story. The premise contains the character, plot, and a sense of the outcome. A tough task to create? Definitely yes. But when completed your personal satisfaction will be higher and your story will be better off for it.

Hollywood is well-known for wanting to have "high-concept" stories. To the investors that is a short statement that connects with the audience and brings to their ears the sound of box office cash registers ringing-Caching, Caching.

To complete your premise start by brainstorming. Don't reject any idea. Keep scribbling or striking that keyboard in front of your fingers.

For example:

     Long lost dinosaurs and humans fight for survival and island dominance.

     Children survivors after a world disaster are forced to fight on TV by evil dictators.

     Couple nurtured by a child they'd abandoned two decades earlier find love.

     A male actor dresses as a woman to find employment and learns he's been
     treating women badly for years.

Look at your unique life and the passions that motivate or mean the most to you. Keep on writing.

After the list grows you should begin to see a pattern. The examples above are not sufficient to
create the pattern that should emerge with your dedication to the exercise.

Remember, you are not sharing this with anyone unless that is your wish. Don't stop at the first
hint of having nothing more to bring forth from your brain. Put the list away. Dedicate more than
minutes or hours to the task.

Later, you must evaluate whether or not you can craft your most promising premise into the outline
of a story and decide upon the shape it may take, i.e., myth, nonfiction, children's story, mystery, romance, or historical.

If you already have a story written, there is no reason you can't draft a one sentence premise. Doing the exercise in reverse will most likely strengthen your existing story, make it sharper, give strength to that sagging middle. Your completed premise also makes a nice fit with that query letter you must write to attract an agent or publisher.

For the best premise possible, get ready, go.

Author Donan Berg has written four mystery novels. His full-length e-book Abbey Burning Love is on sale for 99 cents. Visit .

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