I’m delighted to share a WIN this time. A middle-grade Young Adult novel in the making.
Can we learn from a case study that models a solid grasp of concept, premise and the First Plot Point? That sets up a story with the inherent dramatic tension and drama, conceptual appeal and heroic arc that will result in a manuscript that has a genuine shot out there?
Of course we can. The more you know about these principles, the quicker you’ll recognize them at work in this writer’s responses to my Kick-Start Concept/Premise Analysis process.
What to Notice
Notice how he nails the concept, that it isn’t yet a premise, which is exactly how it should be. It defines a compelling notion, a proposition, an arena, that offers up a rich story landscape. Any number of stories could be written from this concept – the hallmark of a great concept, by the way — without actually going there… yet.
First things first, we should establish why readers will want to jump into this story world. Concept is where that happens. Young readers will be drawn to this idea, even before a protagonist and a dramatic arc enter the picture.
This is the type of pitch that sells the story, even before telling the story.
Then, when he spins it again with a “what if?” context added, look what happens to it then: it begins to grow into a dramatic proposition, unlocking the potential for drama, yet remains focused on the conceptual energy that will drive it.
Then, check out his premise. It’s solid. Bullet proof. This opinion from a guy (me) with plenty of bullets at the ready.
Notice how clean and simple, even how short, these answers are. And yet, the story itself isn’t simplistic. This what happens when a writer really understands what the CORE STORY is, and why it will work. If you need paragraphs to simply deliver a snapshot of the story world and its hero’s quest, you’re not ready to write it.
Notice how perfectly positioned the story is for its identified reader demographic. Just the right level of fantasy, just the right nuance of theme and adventure.
Check it out here: Model Concept and Premise Document.
Many thanks to this writer for allowing me to share his work. It’s inspiring, I hope you agree.
And, as we work on our own stories at the Big Picture level — precisely where we should start, by the way — it becomes a model of what success looks like. I say… bravo.
It’s no accident, either, that this author is an established pro in the field of middle grade/YA television programming, and at the big league level (if you have kids, then his shows have been in your home). I’ll let him introduce himself here, in the comment thread, if he chooses… but it illustrates a point: knowledge begets success, because knowledge is required.
Would you like your story concept, premise and major dramatic spine evaluated, using this same Questionnaire? Click HERE to learn how. I guarantee you, it’s the best $95 investment in your story, in the three to 24 months it will take you to tell it, that you’ll find anywhere in the industry.
Because if it doesn’t work here, there is no chance it’ll work when spread out over 400 pages of your draft. That, too, is a guarantee.