Saturday, July 22, 2017

Planning Your Novel - Part 2 "Premise"

by Elva Cobb Martin


Planning your novel can get that dream you have (like an illusive bubble in your head and heart), down on plain white paper or on your computer screen.

In Part 1 of planning a novel, we talked about:

a) Reading/immersing yourself in your genre and time period


b) Jotting down your initial storyline
c) Researching and more researching

You can find Part 1 in my archives.

Today, I want to talk about the first of three important "p's" in planning your novel: Premise, Pitch, and Pictures.

Stavros Halvatzis has several good blogs about Premise that helped me. Click http://stavroshalvatzis.com/story-design/how-to-create-a-strong-dramatic-Premise

To recap, he says: 

The story or moral premise is a short description of the entire story in its essential form. It's the essential core or meaning of the story and the chief theme of your story.

A unique premise contains a strong set-up and pay-off, it generates dramatic questions, and gives the writer a blueprint for writing a successful story.

It can be thought of as the two-part genetic code of a story: one part identifies the virtue which leads to victory, while the other identifies the opposite, which leads to defeat.

Here are some movie examples he sites:

1) The Ten Commandments, Braveheart, The Firm, Gladiator
    "The hero must do the right thing to eventually achieve the goal (carry the day, save the world), even if it sometimes means he has to sacrifice himself."

2) In There Will be Blood  
      "The pursuit of wealth and power, at the expense of love and family, leads to loneliness and defeat."

After studying premise this is what I came up with for my work-in-progress, an inspirational historical romance.

"Love, forgiveness and determination can overcome the most horrifying experiences and poor choices."

Can you see the two main parts of my story? (Terrible experience & Happy Resolution) Can you see that it will be an encouraging story for those who have suffered from bad experiences or poor choices? Does it bring to mind dramatic questions like: What horrible experience did the heroine endure? How will she find love and forgiveness to overcome the effects? Does she have enough determination to move forward to a HEA? My heroine, Marisol Valentin, will find what she needs to overcome! She will illustrate my idea of a strong, determined woman who will not let circumstances destroy her or keep her down. And, of course, she will have to discover the great power of Christian faith to do this.

Do you see that from my premise, I actually have my beginning, middle and end of my story? 
     The Horrifying Experience (and all it entailed)
     Working to Overcome (risk, hindrances, conflict, people)
     Accessing love, forgiveness and determination to a HEA

Sound like the 3 acts? Maybe so.

Can you come up with a premise for your novel? It will help you write your story, and keep you on track to your planned ending.
Please share it in the comments. I'd love to read it.

Premise is different from the Pitch which I will discuss in my next blog. Premise will help you write your pitch!

Thanks for stopping by. Please leave a comment and share this blog on your social media if it was helpful.

Blessings,
Elva Cobb Martin







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