Happy Friday everyone. Casey here.
Now that I’ve done the final edits on Mystic Storm, I’m focusing on my next few books. And because I plot my novels before I write a single word, I always create a document with all the basics like premise, characters, setting, etc. The first thing I always ask myself – what is the initial premise?
It’s really a very simple question - what is this story about? It’s not meant to be used by anyone other than me. And it’s not supposed to be a tagline, elevator pitch or back cover copy. No. Nothing fancy or complicated at this stage.
Instead, the initial premise is a starting point to get the creative ball rolling. Generally, I aim for one or two sentences. The simpler, the better.
Here’s why. At this point in the process, I don’t want to be encumbered by a constricting idea. If the premise is too well-formed, it might make it harder for me later if I want to deviate from the chosen path. And, why give The Doubt Monster more fodder to work with at this stage in the game?
We all have to start someplace, for me, this is a great way to launch into my next book. Because I have three new book ideas in my brain, I have three different documents mapping them out. Since they aren’t written yet, sorry, you can’t see them. I’m kind of superstitious about my stories. No one but me gets to know the details until I’ve written them.
Now, I know I said the premise is for your eyes only, but, in this case I’ll make an exception for my fellow Scribblers. Here’s what I came up with for my published novels (and it’s funny to re-read them!).
Mystic Ink: A tattoo shop owner keeps finding dead bodies in the alley next to her shop.
The Undead Space Initiative: Vampire stripper Cherry Cordial spectacularly messes up her life with a single act of kindness that earns her the wrath of the entire vampire community.
Mystic Storm:The Fates have cursed Zephyr, God of the West Wind, for interfering in a Hero’s Journey. He tries to deal with the consequences while helping a Muse find her missing brother.
In the case of The Undead Space Initiative, I was able to use the premise to form the back cover copy. Just a lucky fluke, but again, in the early stages of writing, I would recommend not worrying about the tagline or back cover. But, hey, if you do have a flash of inspiration, by all means, write it down!
Now, my challenge for you. Can you summarize your story in one or two sentences? Remember, vague is good.