Category Archives: Concept

Stakes: Show us what you’ve got!

When doing concept a couple weeks ago, I popped off a few examples to show each master’s way of writing concept.  When illustrating Mr. Iglesias’ approach, I wrote this: Continue reading

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Stakes: How James Patterson does it

A couple weeks ago we looked at how master novelists write one-line synopses.  One of them really emphasized stakes, so I picked that one to read with an eye for developing, heightening, and deepening stakes.

Ladies and Gents, I give you: Continue reading

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Stakes: So what? Who cares?

The masters agree: stories most often fail because the stakes aren’t high enough.  But there is plenty we can do to ensure lack of stakes doesn’t happen to our stories. Continue reading

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Designing Principle: Show us what you’ve got!

Designing Principles can come instantly, along with the initial idea. But often they are hard-won. If they come at all.

I considered trying to come up with a designing principle for one of the two premises we developed last week, but… I’ve got nothing.  The only made-up designing principle I can offer you is this… Continue reading

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Designing Principle: Examples from the Masters

The designing principle, more or less, is the collection of creative things you do to present and tell your story.

In no particular order, here are some examples of how the masters have done it: Continue reading

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Designing Principle: What is it?

This tool is really an opportunity.  It’s a prompt to get you thinking about your story and about how you might tell your story in an original way.

WHAT IS IT? Continue reading

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Writing–and Improving–The One-Line Synopsis

Today we’re expanding a couple of last week’s concepts into synopses and then trying to improve them. Continue reading

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The One-Line Synopsis: How the Best Sellers Do It (Or At Least the People Who Write the List) (Updated 10/16/18)

I’ve lifted these synopses from the January 18, 2015 New York Times Best Seller Lists.  In each one, I’ve identified any synopsis components with:  {W}orld, {C}haracter, {I}nciting Incident, {G}oal, {A}ction, {P}roblem, and {S}takes.  I’ve also indicated if the component is {i}mplicit…to my ears anyway.  And, if I wasn’t sure if a word or phrase indicated a component, I added a question mark.

They’re ordered from most amount of clear (no ‘?’) components to least amount of components, with each component counted only once.  Ready?  Which grab your attention… Continue reading

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The One-Line Synopsis: What is it and how do you write one? (Updated 10/16/18)

Time to expand the concept into a one-line synopsis. Continue reading

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High Concept: Let’s See What You’ve Got

When I was working on these posts, I had a dream.  (I know!  I’m now in the inspired-by-a-dream club.  *Here’s waving at you Ms. Meyer!* Now if only my dream will likewise elicit a license to print money….) In my dream, I was a kid in the back seat of the family SUV, driving north on I-5 somewhere in Washington state.  I looked to my left and there!  I saw it! Continue reading

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