Writing a Killer Premise

In between loads of laundry and the busy days of summer, I’m starting a brand new story. And in case you are wondering, nope, that is not a picture of my dog, but it represents how I feel when I start a new project. I never know how it’s going to end up because it keeps changing up to the very end, which is what makes it so exciting.

One thing I’ve been contemplating for my new novel is its premise. Every novel has to have a premise. But oftentimes that doesn’t come clear to the writer until later, after the first draft is done and revisions have begun.

So what is a premise anyways? Even better, how do write a killer premise? Premise sounds like a fancy word to me, so I feel like it’s better explaining it as the theme or moral of the story.

I remember years ago, in middle school, my Spanish teacher bought a set of Aesop’s Fables and all the students took turns taking them home and studying each volume. To me it was fascinating to try and find the moral of each fable. There is always something to learn from someone else experiences. And that’s what we as writers seek to project in the premise of our stories. We all have something to share, something that only we know how to explain because we are all unique in nature.

When it comes to a theme, I personally find it a lot easier and more concrete to think of a single word to define my theme, such as, trust, healing, safety, etc.

No matter what your premise may be at the beginning of the story, one thing to keep in mind is that it’s never set in stone. It will often change as you dive deeper into the story, and as your characters grow and change.

Writing is my passion. I find it captivating how a simple idea can become a complete novel with characters who are as real as the person who wrote them.

What do you think? Is the theme the first thing that pops to your mind when you start a new story or is something you discover as you accompany your characters on their journey?



Photo credit:Copyright: christingasner / 123RF Stock Photo


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