The Main Reason Your Story’s Premise Is Important

Your story’s premise is the foundation of your work. This is true for the shaping of the story itself, and it is also true from a marketing perspective. For both writers and readers, the premise is the reason we become interested in a story. Even when you don’t know your premise until late in the […]

How to identify The Most Important Part of Your Premise

How to Identify Your Story’s Premise–and Its Most Important Part

A high-concept premise can make or break your book—but not in the way you might think. It’s not enough just to come up with a cool idea for your book. You also have to make it work on every single page. Otherwise, no matter how cool it is, it quickly becomes the wrong premise. The key to […]

The Nanowrimo Guide to Outilining (the First 4 Questions to Ask Yourself)

Start Your Outline With These 4 Questions (How to Outline for NaNoWriMo, Pt. 2)

“Where do you start your outline?” is a question I often receive. Now, if the obvious answer “start at the beginning” were, in fact, the right answer, no one would be asking this. The reason writers ask this question is because, when properly approached, outlines are anything but linear—which can make the “beginning” rather hard to identify. Whether you’re […]

4 Ways To Tell Your Story Has A Solid Concept

4 Ways to Verify Your Story Concept Is Strong Enough

All story concepts are not created equal. Even once you get past all the boring, been-there, and just plain blah ideas to the point where you’ve discovered something legitimately interesting and cool—that’s not enough either. Many a cool story concept has gone on to be a wasted story. But that’s not going to be you! Today, I’m going to […]

Learn How NOT to Waste Your Story Setting’s Full Potential

Learn How NOT to Waste Your Story Setting’s Full Potential

This week’s video talks about how Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island benefited from a full and imaginative use of its story setting—and how you can add the same value to your own book. Video Transcript: Story setting should never be a throwaway decision. Your setting is going to influence every page you write. Not only does […]

Do You Know the 6 Must-Have Elements of a “Wow” Story Premise?

Do You Know the 6 Must-Have Elements of a “Wow” Story Premise?

Story premise is the foundation of all good books. It’s the fundamental kernel of the beginning idea. But it’s more than that. If you can craft a solid story premise right from the beginning of your writing process, you will be able to capture all the concrete details necessary to bring your story to life. […]

How to Pitch Your Novel What's the Difference Between Your Story's Hook and Your Story's Heart

How to Pitch Your Novel: What’s the Difference Between Your Story’s Hook and Your Story’s Heart?

Quick! You’ve got less than a minute to convince me your story is worth my time. What do you tell me? You’ve got to pique my curiosity with mystery and potential, while still conveying the bulk of the plot, theme, and general tone. No problem! you say. But when you sit down to actually figure […]

Your Story’s Concept and Your Story’s Premise: Do You Know the Crucial Difference?

Story Concept and Story Premise: Do You Know the Crucial Difference?

What’s up with story concept and story premise? Are they interchangeable words for the same idea–or are they separate tools with their own important jobs to fulfill? I know you guys picked Door #2–’cause you’re wicked smart like that. But it’s a fact: “story concept” and “story premise” are often used interchangeably, which just goes to […]

Come Up With a Killer Story Concept Before You Start Writing

Come Up With a Killer Story Concept–Before You Start Writing

Readers only ever see the words of the novel. They have no insight into the planning process, how the story concept came about, or the number of ideas and subplots that may have been taken out of the novel or replaced. But when you sit down to write a novel, don’t make the mistake of thinking the only work […]

simplify your story before you lose readers

Simplify Your Story–Before You Lose Readers

This week’s video talks about the storytelling principle of “double mumbo jumbo,” why you should avoid it in your story, and how to simplify your story. Video Transcript: Complexity in fiction is a beautiful thing. But so is simplicity, particularly since not all complexity is good complexity. There’s a principle in storytelling, which the late […]