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.
17 thoughts on “Your Journey Starts Here by Casey Wyatt”
Great exercise, Casey. I usually end up doing this step much later in the process, but I can see the benefit of doing it up front. I’ll definitely do this for the next book. I have a whole page of log lines and blurbs for each of my books so I can use different ones for different purposes. A one line log line, a three line short blurb, and then a back cover copy. I like the idea of a short one line summary before the book starts so we’re kept on task. Good idea. Thanks!
I find that some things are easier when you don’t know everything about your story yet. And really, it’s meant as a guidepost for personal use only. If it helps later with coming up with taglines, etc. then that’s great too!
Let’s see ~ A young mom and her 10-year-old daughter accidentally travel back in time and find themselves in the foreign world of a knight in somewhat tarnished armor. Which will win out in the end, romantic love between mom and knight or responsible love between mom and daughter?
Fun exercise! I had to really think about the basics of the plot to get it down in two sentences…Nice!
Sounds fun Viv!!
I’ll have to give this a try for my WIP, maybe it’ll even help me when it comes time for that “pitch”. Love the idea and looking forward to Mystic Storm and seeing what happened to Zephyr.
Hee hee. I am so mean to him!
Hmm … Let’s see … According to Legend when the spirit of the tribal princess is born again, and she holds the enchanted stone in her hand, the lovers will be reunited … even through time.
My next book, To Kill a Monarch is like 007 in 1811. I often get the catch phrase in mind before I even start the book. Great post, Casey.
Love it Gerri – 007 in 1811. Awesome!!
It was interesting to see how my tagline for Warning Signs differed with the BCC the publisher gave me. They took it from a completely different angle. Maybe I need to write that tagline before I write the book. Maybe I was too far off what I thought the book was about. hmmmmm… Something to think about.
Well, its not supposed to be a tagline just a mental jumping point – like “x marks the spot” – before you start writing. It’s a bonus, if later, you can use it for the tagline.
I was inspired to write this story when I was doing a Bierstadt painting. I wondered how, in 1863, he got the images to paint a scene of Yosemite. I researched and came up with . . . He traveled west with a good friend and ended up with his friend’s wife. That’s the story in a nutshell. Eh? So, there you have it!
Sounds intriguing Gail!!