A case study illustrating a premise that tried, but comes up short.
With an extensive tutorial on why, and how to avoid this trap.
When asked how one moves from knowledge to execution… more accurately, the ability to apply storytelling principles to the writing of a draft… I always say this: look for and notice the principles at work in the stories that you read.
You’ll see them in virtually every published novel you read (traditionally published, certainly, and in a significant percentage of self-published work) . Non-writers don’t notice them, but a writer like you who has recently been immersed in the deep waters of craft, usually will.
That’s when the light bulb goes off. Sometimes it actually explodes into a supernova of understanding more accurately described as an Epiphany.
But there’s an even more effective way to truly test your understanding. And it’s not available to most… which is why I run these case studies here on Storyfix. This window into craft is even clearer… because we’re looking at unpublished (and even unwritten) stories, in which the principles show up in a written story plan (in this case, via my coaching Questionnaire) in ways that are easy to spot.
At least, when you know what to look for. Which is the point.
This, too, is an Epiphany. Professionals with editors to help them make it look easy. But when a newer writer tries the same things, what’s lacking can be obvious. Especially when the coach – me, in this instance – is standing there with a laser pointer and a freeze frame to dissect what went, and then model a better response.
This case study takes a very reasonable and promising story idea, and then, when asked to define the concept and premise, basically strips it of its potential. Not because the writer isn’t talented, but because the writer hadn’t yet grasped the real definitions of concept and premise, as reflected in these answers.
If you can’t describe it one sentence, how can you then nail it on the page from behind the contextual veil of the actual story? Answer: you almost certainly can’t.
This writer (who remains anonymous here) graciously volunteered his Questionnaire for your benefit. That benefit comes from seeing what he said, and then seeing an analysis of what works, what doesn’t, and why… and then, what to do with a better answer once a new understanding dawns.
Click here to read it: 2-12 case study .
Feel free to add your own thoughts and feedback in the Comments thread below, which will benefit the writer and other Storyfix readers.
How would you do if asked to define your concept and premise?
If you’d like to see, my Quick Hit Concept Review – which uses this exact Questionnaire – is only $49. I think it’s the best value in the entire story coaching universe, because if you get this wrong the story will almost certainly suffer for it, perhaps adding months or years of trying to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it.
You can find out in a few days at the cost of a night at the movies.
Click HERE to read more about the program, or use the links in the left column (or on the linked page) to enroll.