05 June 2013

How to Develop a High Concept in Novels, Memoirs, Screenplays

We had a plot consultation a couple of years ago. At the time, I worried her story wasn't High Concept -- you know, that something special, exotic, unexpected. Without a high concept, a story may never find an agent, publisher, audience.

Prior to our recent consultation, I read her current synopsis and worry I've lost my ability to remember writers' stories. I do not recognize any of the character, action or thematic elements. The writing and content in her synopsis give me goosebumps. Intrigue, mystery, romance, secrets and lies, wrongful arrest and sentencing, provocative themes = high concept elements, for sure.

She starts the consultation by saying she's never stopped thinking about our original consultation and never stopped digging deeper. As we discuss her story, I continue to struggle to remember her story only to find that during the time since we last spoke and while laid up with a broken ankle, she stumbled across a compelling news story she subsequently integrated into her original ideas.

With this new layer and major plot line the story comes alive.

With this new layer and major plot line the writer's excitement and energy and enthusiasm also come alive.

She successfully integrated the new plot line which involves a second POV into the beginning and middle of her original story and then stalled out when coming up with a crisis and climax for each POV.

I'll share that process later. For now, I just want to revel in the thrill of seeing what can come with an open mind and a willingness to move out of one's comfort zone to the razor's edge of not knowing...

For an in-depth resource to all the questions to ask about conflict when writing a novel, memoir, screeplay, refer to  The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories.


1) Track Your Plot at the Scene Level Webinar
Learn to Maximize the 7 essential plot elements in every scene (one of 7 essential plot elements in every scene is CONFLICT) from the comfort of your own home.

Knowing what to write where in a story with a plot allows for a more loving relationship with your writing. Whether writing a first draft or revising, if you falter wondering what comes next in a story with a plot, follow the prompts inThe Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing

Today, I write.

To familiarize yourself with the basic plot terms used here and in the PW Book of Prompts:

1) Watch the plot playlists on the Plot Whisperer Youtube channel.
2) Read The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
3) Fill out the exercises in The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories
4) Visit:
Blockbuster Plots for Writers
Plot Whisperer on Facebook
Plot Whisperer on Twitter