Yo! We're High    Concept

Yo! We're High Concept

Update: 2019-11-12
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So there’s a quick and easy way to figure out who you are and who you want to be, but also figure out what your book is and what it wants to be.


It’s called the high concept. It’s the dramatic question. It’s the way you describe in a quick captivating phrase all the energy inside your novel.


You can also do this for your life:


Like mine would be: Latchkey kid overwhelmed by family secrets sets out to find out who she is in a world that really couldn’t give a crap.


Sorry! Sorry! That’s so negative.


How about: Stuck in small-town New Hampshire, a weird psychic kid manages to survive thanks to her intellect until a rapist gives her a disease that attacks her brain. She survives anyways.


There are sort of standard questions for every genre of story and movies. Will they fall in love? Will the killer be caught? Will our hero survive the zombie gerbils? Will the events of our youth make us into fractured adults?


Don’t be shy about what your story is about. Will ET make it home? Will the Skywalkers go to the dark side – all of them? Will the Avengers defeat Thanos? Will Hugh Grant fall in love with someone in a fulfilling way? Even ghost ‘reality’ shows on tv have a dramatic question – Will they catch evidence – real evidence of the ghosts? Will they get possessed? Will they survive the night in the haunted castle?


An awesome dramatic question isn’t enough to make something a bestseller, but it’s an important start. Go get one. For your life and your story.


Next add in the obstacles. What’s making it complicated for ET to get home? For the ghost hunters to find evidence? Add those obstacles up so that we doubt that dramatic question is going to have a good answer.


Finally, make sure that your hero is someone with some damn strong convictions. ET knows he has to get home, right? Scarlett O’Hara is positive she has to marry that Ashley guy. Harry Potter/Iron Man/Captain America/Black Widow must defeat Voldemort/Thanos/Whatever Big Bad you want to insert.


That character’s super strong convictions are what makes us root for them. We feel that conviction. The stakes resonate.


Writing Tip of the Pod:


Make a dramatic question.


Add obstacles.


Make your character have convictions.


Dog Tip For Life


Make a dramatic question.


Realize you have obstacles.


Make yourself have the convictions to bash through those obstacles.


SHOUT OUT


The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.


LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN!


The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! 


“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”


“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”



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Yo! We're High    Concept

Yo! We're High Concept

Carrie Jones