The Premise

Last night I was reading Frey’s How to Write a Damn Good Novel. He was talking about how important it was to know your premise. Which worried me. Because I realized that I didn’t know what the premise of my current book is. Or the other two.

This means the stories kind of meander around and there are scenes that don’t feel right. There’s something wrong with them but I can’t put my finger on it to fix them. Then last night as I was reading I had a lightbulb moment. I can’t fix them because I don’t know their purpose and that’s because I don’t have a clear premise.

I’ve been going to workshops and listening to speakers and reading How To Write books but when they start talking about every scene having to have a conflict and a resolution that leads to the big black moment in the book and the final resolution I start mentally stuttering. And worrying. Because I know I’m not building the scenes up the way I want to or making the point of the book clearly. I can’t verbalize or write it because I’m not sure what it is.

It’s like I’m driving somewhere. I know where I want to end up. I get there but I can’t give you directions that make sense and I can’t explain how or why I arrived at my destination.

I’m not sure that makes sense either.

But just a few minutes ago, I had some insight into the central character in my book. So I started a new document and wrote it down. Then I wrote down the motivations for two of the other main characters. (I wrote down something for the fourth too but his motivation and goal needs work. )

And suddenly I understood the premise for this book. And wrote it down.

We are haunted by fears that destroy our lives. Or more succinctly. Fears destroy lives. Then I turned it around. Acknowledging your fears allows you to conquer them and find happiness and peace.

Yes I know I’m switching from first person to third to second. The POV lightbulb hasn’t gone off yet.

That’s okay. It will.

Almost 50,000 words into the book and I just figured out the premise. But that should make the second half of the book easier to write. And help me revise the first half. After NaNoWri

Thanks to Deb Dixon, Jenny Crusie, Bob Mayer, J. Frey and all the other writers who share their knowledge in person and in print I’m learning the craft of writing. In spite of my fears and mental blocks.

3 Responses to “The Premise”

  1. Sheryl Says:

    I’m so happy for you and your lighbulb moments. Here’s to many more!

  2. Scope Dope Cherrybomb Says:

    Great, now why don’t you come over to my house and explain Premise to me.

    Glad to hear things are working out for you. Keep up the good work.

  3. McB Says:

    This is George’s book? Oooh. You know of course we have a personal interest in this one.


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