Sunday, February 17, 2013

Blog Series: Premise

I know, I’ve already gotten off-track with my blog series. :/ So, here’s the second post: PREMISE.

Truby gives this definition of Premise, “The premise is you story stated in one sentence. It is the simplest combination of character and plot and typically consists of some event that starts the action, some sense of the main character, and some sense of the outcome of the story”

Basically, your premise is what makes you story unique. It also is the foundation for your entire story—fail at the premise, you fail at the rest of your book.

Example of a book without a stated premise:

Example of a book with a stated premise:

Okay, you’re going to laugh at me, but look at the first line. It’s all jumbled and confusing. The characters don’t always jive, their decisions don’t actually get them anywhere and no all the chapters in the book seem to contribute to the actually story—without a stated premise, you didn’t give yourself a starting point. You didn’t give yourself time to ask important questions that develop everything—plot, characters, themes, nothing.

Now the second line represents fluidity. It represents a puzzle that has all its pieces and no loose ends. Decisions the character makes get you from point A to point B, and all chapters help the story—all because there was a good premise.

Truby suggests that you take weeks to develop your premise and the subsequent questions that will arise from that simple line. I can tell you that I am still in the planning states for my second novel, and I have been for weeks. Soon, I’ll have to begin writing.

He also suggests making a premise list that can coincide with your wish-list (LINK).

In an attempt to use a book most people have heard of, I’ll demonstrate the use of Premise:

Harry Potter:

Premise: Send a young boy to a school of witchcraft and wizardry.

Questions that you could ask yourself after developing this premise are: Where is the school located? How does one get there? It has to be something magical. What does the school look like? Who is in charge of the school? What kind of classes would witches and wizards take? Would it be like a normal school? Are there going to be sports? They would be different sports, nothing that normal humans would play….

See how that brainstorming works?

This is how I brainstorm, you guys might have a different way, but all that matters is that you’ve developed that premise!



  1. YAY! I'm so glad you're blogging about this book :D I feel like it's such a little known gem...good job! XO

    1. I agree! I'm so glad you introduced me to it! I'm rereading it again.

  2. Huh, I'll have to check out this book. I hadn't seen it before.

  3. I haven't seen this one before, either. I'll have to check it out. :)

  4. Neat! I agree - the premise almost becomes like your one-line query.

  5. Sounds like an awesome book. I had to giggle at the squiggly line. I wrote my first novel from the hip and it is such shambles. The only way to fix it is to start over from scratch!