I had trouble titling this one. You’ll see why when you read it.
To suggest that a concept is too big is to imply, perhaps, that the writer is reaching for something that feels he/she is ready to tackle, the story they were born to write. But concepts, on any scale, are available to anyone, and when they arrive at a scale that calls for a keen mastery of story, and you’re new to this, then its more like a recipe for frustration.
And possibly, as it’s turned out for the author of this story plan, an invitation to dive deeper into the craft of storytelling. Because this concept is unforgiving in the depth and thematic breadth of what it demands. It looks great as a one-liner… but imagine trying to write the thing.
The Questionnaire and feedback here come in at nearly 9,000 words (one of the reasons I’m about to raise my fee… this thing took me hours to complete). It’s an ebook, in effect, in which I find myself launching into high octane lecture mode on a whole roster of story issues. And thus, for craft-hungry writers, this case study becomes a clinic on what the collision between High Concept and Thin Craft looks like.
The author was a little nervous about sharing this, fearing you’d all pile on. I told him you probably would, but as empathetic teammates and creative contributors, which you’ve shown yourselves to be. You’ll find a LOT to work with on this one.
You’ll also notice, upon reading the synopsis and sample that follow the Questionnaire portion, that this writer can really deliver the lyrics, you’ll find a rich narrative voice there. Which serves to cement the realization that how well you write your sentences is only one of the six core competencies you need to bring to a story before it’ll work.
Not every concept can be pulled off as a story, even when it sounds fascinating. This just might be one of them. You be the judge.
You can get it here: When Your Concept is TOO Big.
Want more stuff on craft? Writers Digest Magazine has named me their Instructor of the Month, which means they’re packaging my books, webinars and even a live workshop audio into a deeply discounted portfolio. Click HERE to check it out.
I’ll also be teaching several sessions at the West Coast Writers Digest West Coast Conference, in mid-August. Watch for registration info in the magazine, on their website, and (via links) here on Storyfix.