6. The Premise


Premise is a thing that divides, like plotters v pantsters, black v white, or even Brexit losers and winners. Ok, maybe not quite that extreme. I haven’t studied all the arguments for and against but, I know I want one for this story. Premise nearly always gets a mention in ‘how to write’ books and I even have a whole book dedicated to the subject. However, as I just want to find one and then get on with writing; I’m going to use the method in the book below to reel it in.


The book is waffle free and seems to cover everything essential. I would recommend it above any of my others. It is also quite funny. My wife bought it in a charity shop for a quid.



Biggest benefit I see is it will tell me what belongs in the story and what doesn’t. Save time, produce a tight story, and I won’t have to murder those brilliant bits of writing that just can’t be shoe-horned in because they don’t belong. A bloke called Lajos Egri says that every line of dialogue, every bit of narrative, every sentence, every word should contribute towards proving the premise.



Take the premise below.


Ruthless ambition leads to death (Macbeth and many other stories)


An element, or trait, of a character which through a conflict leads to a conclusion. All premises have that ‘leads to’ part. For my premise Nathaniel provides the bit before the ‘leads to’ i.e.


Need for polygamy leads to ____


To fill in the last part is going to be fun; because it is creative. The story could go a million different ways. The aforementioned book recommends to just meditate on how it might go. It could end up anywhere, I really don’t know yet. I’m going to try a few meditations then pick the best result. It could ‘lead to’ death, or love, or fame, or just about anything. I need to bring the story to the best conclusion, it needs to transform Nathaniel from one pole to the other, he’s going to have to go through the grinder.


The completed premise will be the next blog and I think it may take a couple of days, maybe longer. See you then.

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