Compelling Premise (Story Engineering and Physics #7 of 12)

Part of a series of posts on story engineering based on the book of that title and its companion volume Story Physics.

Story Engineering & Story PhysicsIn the first post in this series I talked about the differences between premise, concept, and idea, and gave these examples of premise:

  • An elderly Irishman traveling in America meets and woos an elderly Englishwoman during the Irish War for Independence, and when he discovers she’s ignorant of the war, creates humorous havoc in his attempts to prevent her from learning that their two homelands are in conflict.
  • An elderly Irishman traveling abroad during the Irish War for Independence meets and woos an Englishwoman who feigns ignorance of their two country’s conflict in order to preserve their romance.
  • A young teacher in modern Chicago tells her elementary school students the story of her grandparents’ romance in an attempt to teach them the value of overcoming prejudice.

Let’s dig deeper into what makes a premise, and then talk about what makes one compelling.

… more … “Compelling Premise (Story Engineering and Physics #7 of 12)”

Concept (Story Engineering and Physics #1 of 12)

Part of a series of posts on story engineering based on the book of that title and its companion volume Story Physics.

Story Engineering & Story PhysicsIdea. Concept. Theme. Premise. Their meanings overlap.

English being a language of precision, we can speak and write with nuance.

We ought to learn writing with nuanced terminology as well.

These words all mean something different, and for the sake of this discussion, we’re going to adopt the storyfixer‘s dictionary.

… more … “Concept (Story Engineering and Physics #1 of 12)”

Here’s How to Look Before You Leap into Your Book

Larry BrooksNo secret I’m a huge fan of Larry Brooks. If you’d like a huge jump start on your next novel, check out Larry’s Conceptual Kickstart Story Analysis. For fifty bucks you’ll get feedback from a master to ensure that your concept will result in the best possible book (as long as you execute the other 5 elements of story engineering and all 6 elements of story physics.

We’re moving everything we own into storage this weekend because the house we’re renting just sold, and we leave on Tuesday for a month-long business trip so ta-daa! it all has to get done now now now.

Posts here should continue as usual. They may, though, have a certain frantic or distracted tone.

Working Through the Details with Larry Brooks of StoryFix

Cheryl Campbell

Cheryl Campbell

Continuing our conversation with author Cheryl Campbell

On Thu, Jul 25, 2013 at 7:07 AM, Cheryl Campbell <> wrote:
Hi Joel,Attached is the document I sent to Larry, which he returned with comments in red. I sent it back this AM with my additions in blue….I don’t know if he’ll respond again since I’m not sure if the continued back and forth is part of the $35 deal or not. But hoping to hear back some more. I feel like I have the pieces to the story that are needed, but I didn’t convey that well when answering the questionnaire. This makes me feel better about having independent eyes on it to an extent and getting validating feedback that the concept is there and the story is not 90k+ words of hooey.
… more … “Working Through the Details with Larry Brooks of StoryFix”

Larry Brooks Teaches Us About the Concept of “Concept”

Next book on my reading list is Larry Brooks’ Story Engineering. He understands craft at a level I can only hope to achieve some day.

He’s deconstructing the movie Side Effects in a series of blog posts, extracting the various storytelling elements a bit at a time. (He warns that his posts contain spoilers, so if you’re planning on seeing the movie, do that before you start reading.)

His post on concept clarified this vital bit of craft for me. Read it and learn.