Last week, Jeff Lyons shared how to make every story idea the best it could be. Today he’s delving into the tricky description of high concept. Many agents and editors say they prefer high-concept stories, but what does that mean?
Some stories tell an engaging tale that’s entertaining but doesn’t necessarily feel deep. Other stories make us feel like we’re changed by reading them. Today, Jeff Lyons shares his insights into how to make each type of story the best they can be.
A common problem—even in traditionally published books—is Missing Motivations. A character’s goal can feel irrelevant if readers don’t understand why they have that goal. Or a character might seem stupid or unlikable if readers don’t know why they’re acting a certain way.
There are almost an infinite number of ways we can develop our story. As long as we end up with a finished book, our process works. And just like the variety found in the overall writing processes we might use, we have many options for how to come up with our protagonist’s arc as well.
As writers, we do everything we can to make readers invested in our characters in some way. An invested reader is a happy reader, right?
Well, maybe not. Let’s take a look at the other side of character development.
When we first start off as writers, if someone asks us about our story, we might launch into an overview of our story’s plot. It’s easy to think the plot is what our story is about. But with few exceptions, story isn’t the same as plot.
We’ve probably all seen us vs. them attitudes for many aspects of writing, implying that there’s only one right process. However, just because something works for one person doesn’t mean it will work for everyone, and in the end, there’s only one thing that matters.
As writers, we get to research anything we want. The problem comes when we think we know something, so we make assumptions without doing the research. Many of us assume we know the justice system because of the endless TV shows and movies depicting lawyers and courtrooms, but those sources don’t always get it right.
Last week, we talked about how we can add diversity to our stories in a respectful way, and no matter what kind of story we write, we’re probably going to need to research something. Whether we’re referring to an aspect of diversity, a setting, or a character’s job, we can’t know everything about everything.
I started visiting the original The Bookshelf Muse website by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi soon after they started it, and it’s been fantastic to see their vision grow. So I’m thrilled to welcome Angela here today, as she’s going to share writing-related goodies with us.
04/26/2017 - Stone-Cold Heart now available for pre-order! Grab your copy while it's on sale!
07/14/2016 - Ironclad Devotion won FIRST PLACE in the Paranormal category of Oklahoma RWA's 2016 National Reader's Choice Awards
05/22/2016 - Treasured Claim is a Three-Time DOUBLE FINALIST in the Fantasy/Paranormal and the Best First Book categories of Fantasy, Futuristic, & Paranormal RWA's 2016 Prism Awards, Oklahoma RWA's 2016 National Reader's Choice Awards, and the Greater Detroit RWA's 2016 Booksellers' Best Awards