Writing Craft – Creating a Premise

It’s been well over a month since I last posted here, and as you can see, I’m WAY late to welcoming everyone to 2013 and saying Happy New Year!  Schedules, school, writing and of course life in general all seem to have made for a busy December and first half of January. 

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time going back to the basics of writing craft.  I’ll be honest, I’m no expert on this topic, but I did spend a good year immersing myself in all the “rules” of writing before I started my book.  You would figure that this would have helped me when I dove into my NaNo manuscript.  Nope.  Rules out the window.  It was just words and ideas scribbled (or typed) furiously into the work in progress.  Now I’m not saying this is a bad thing because it really helped me figure out some of the direction that I wanted to go in with Kinetic and it took me to places that I never thought imaginable.  During this process, I also discovered that I am not a hardcore “pantser,” so I really need some solid direction to get this story back on track and finish the first draft of this manuscript. 

So, step one – write the premise.  Any author should be able to sum up the premise of their book in one or two sentences.  What is the story about? 

Take this premise for example: 

“A young FBI agent must barter personal information with an imprisoned psychopathic genius in order to catch a serial kill who is capturing and killing young women for their skins.”  (Taken from Screenwriting Tricks for Authors by Alexandra Sokoloff). 

Care to guess what it is?  Okay, well since I can’t really hear you guessing, the answer is Silence of the Lambs.  In that one sentence, you get a feel for what the book will be about and what is at stake for the protagonist. 

So, I took a stab at it and wrote down the premise for Kinetic.

In the not-too-distant future, an orphaned 16-year old girl accused of murdering her guardian reluctantly partners with her genetically modified enemy to fight against the organization that raised her in order to uncover the truth about the murder and save her own life – discovering secrets about her own past and an unknown hidden power, along the way. 

Okay, so it’s not perfect, but it should give you an idea of what the book is about and some of the conflict that might occur.  There’s some pretty high stakes here – fighting for your life and trusting an enemy, all to prove your innocence.  So, is this enough to draw readers in?  I really hope so. 

So now that I’m done with my premise, I think it’s time to outline.

Happy writing and reading! 

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