Today's guest is no stranger to our blog but a dear friend and fellow writer who has shared treasures, thoughts and the spotlight on more than one occasion so please welcome DiAnn Mills back to our blog.....
The High Concept Novel
Are you a novelist striving for a high concept story? Have you heard the term and not fully understood what it means? Worse yet, has an agent or editor challenged you to create a high concept novel, and now you have brain freeze? Let me help you unpack what agents, editors, and readers are desperately seeking.
A high concept story is one that has potential to spread like wildfire, either within a genre or across a large audience. Think of Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Hunger Games, Divergent, Forrest Gump, Gone with the Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird, Les Misérables, and the list continues.
Rachelle Gardner writes, “High concept means the PREMISE of your book will get attention, before anyone sees even one word of your writing.”
Are you still scratching your head? What is this thing called a premise?
• Do you know why you must write this story?
• What is the burning passion to spend hours perfecting your craft?
• What is the moral truth to be explored, revisited, and turned upside down?
• What sears your heart with a what-if?
• What keeps you up at night and preoccupied during the day?
Sometimes the premise can blow away an agent or editor in one sentence; sometimes it takes three. But it must be unique to the writer and to the story’s concept, something the writer has never written before.
Another element is how the premise affects you, and why you are the only one to write the story.
When you are brainstorming your novel’s potential high concept, ask yourself the following questions.
1. What is your distinctively different premise?
2. How is your story original?
3. Why are you the only writer who can pen this story?
4. How are your characters intriguing?
5. Is your story idea fresh and exciting?
6. Are the plot twists super-unpredictable and yet believable?
7. Will your story touch the hearts of cross-genre readers or a wide-niche market?
8. Does your story entertain?
9. Are strong emotions a part of the high stakes?
10. Can your readers step into the closet of your character and emerge satisfied that they have lived a true adventure?
Now write your high-concept idea in one sentence. Make every word count. Don’t settle for the first draft. Refine what you’ve written. Let your passion swell. Give yourself time to ponder over ideas, and consider if this type of novel writing is for you. Come back to it. How has it changed?
Perhaps your story idea falls within the high-concept criteria. I hope so! If you believe in your premise, then get started with the groundwork of making your novel idea the next bestseller.
What is the premise burning in your mind?
DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is co-director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and The Mountainside Marketing Conference with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.
Connect with DiAnn here: www.diannmills.com
DiAnn's latest book, Burden of Proof can be purchased HERE.
Oh wow, DiAnn, these tips are definitely something every writer can treasure. Thanks for sharing!
Hope you enjoyed DiAnn's post as much as I do and that you'll check back regularly for Tuesday Treasures, Thursday Thoughts and Saturday Spotlight.
Until next time take care and God bless.