Sunday, 25 June 2017

An Easy Way To Find The Premise of Your Story

The premise of your story is the back bone of the novel and helps keep you focused while writing. It's also helpful when you have an idea and want to flesh it out.

Plus, it gives you a quick answer to that dreaded question;

"So what's your book about?"

But before you write a knock out premise, you need to identify the major story elements, which are:
  • Character
  • Situation
  • Objective
  • Opponent
  • Disaster

1. Character: pretty straight forward here, it's your protagonist.

2. Situation: This includes setting and external forces, ie: what kind of life does your MC have? Do they live in a futuristic version of New York or a stately English manor in the late 1800's.

3. Objective: What does your MC want?

4. Opponent: CONFLICT! What is preventing your MC from getting what they want.

5. Disaster: Identify the worst thing that can happen to your characters. It can't be rosy on the road to their goal. There should be something hanging over their heads as they navigate their way through the story.

Now that we're all on the same page, let's CREATE THAT PREMISE!

Basically, you're going to bind all those elements together in one sentence, and that my friends, is the premise of your story.

This is very handy for when people ask you what your story is about, you'll have a quick answer that makes you sound like bourbon and evening jackets.

As an example I'm going to use an idea that's been kicking around in my head for a new YA mystery. Let's start with the 5 major elements.

Character: Drusilla Timmons, 19, fake medium
Objective: restore reputation and get rich
Situation: England mid 1800s
Opponent: Murderer
Disaster: ghosts 

Now, let's put it together using this formula:

Situation > Character > Goal > Opponent > Disaster

When her fake séance is raided, con-artist Drusilla Timmons loses credibility and desperately accepts the task of helping a handsome widower find his bride's murderer, but when she visits the reclusive manor the wife's ghost is suddenly real and the bloody finger is pointing at the husband.

Or you can frame it as a question:


In a reclusive English manor, fake medium Drusilla Timmons needs to pull off the séance of her career to help bring a killer to light, but when the ghosts are suddenly real can Drusilla keep her wits and solve the mystery before she becomes the next victim?

I hope this helps! Have fun writing your premise!




Thursday, 15 June 2017

3 Traits Your Villain and Hero Should Share






A great way to show this in your story is to showcase the following elements that both your hero and villain should share.

1. Personality

We all have unique personalities. Some days we're awesome and some days we're quick to temper and kind of miserable.

When writing your villain, you're actually using the personality of the hero, but spotlighting all less desirable traits, thereby showing what your hero could become if he makes the wrong choices and vice versa.  


In the Harry Potter series, Malfoy is basically the snobbish rich kid, but deep down he's insecure and wishes to be the best wizard. He tries to accomplish this by cheating and buying his way through school, but Harry has to rely on skill and hard work.

2. Values

Heroes and villains can have the same value systems, in fact stories are richer for it as opposed to having a soulless bad guy. The reader will have a greater connection with the villain if his motives feel rational. When both the villain and the hero fight for what they believe in the drama is two fold.



Consider, Anne of Green Gables, Anne perceives Gilbert her main competition in the classroom, however even though they both work hard for their grades, Gilbert takes a more cheeky approach to Anne's more serious attitude. This results in making her infuriated, creating perfect drama in their shared scenes.

3. Goals

This is probably the most dramatic trait you can create between your protagonist and antagonist. A shared goal is what creates conflict and provides a reason why these two characters keep crossing paths.



In the comedy, Pitch Perfect, our heroine's choir is up against two other groups (one cheating and the other is unworthy) for the illustrious grand prize.

Why is this important?

Because the easiest way to get to know your characters is to find out what they want and why. In order to create worthy opponents start making a list of the things they have in common. You'll discover this provides a framework for adding depth to your characters and the plot.


Who are some of your favourite hero and villain pairings?



Thursday, 1 June 2017

Five Favourite Things I Just Discovered


Here are five things I recently discovered that are amazing and might make your life more fun too!

1. Audiobook SYNC

Listening to a good story on the commute to work fuels me for the day. Free audiobooks for teens (or anyone else who wants to read/listen to really good books) all summer long. Check them out here!



2. Cabbage Patch Kimchi

Seriously, I love this stuff, especially with rice and chicken or even on buttered bread. It's good for sore joints (yes, I have sore joints) and makes you super healthy or something like that. I get mine from the Farmer's Market. Here's the website.



image by Katie Power

3. Fresh flowers

Okay, I know this isn't a new thing, but it's been a long winter.

Bringing an armful of lilacs or a few sprigs of lily of the valley into my house not only freshens the air but instantly soothes the atmosphere. It's impossible to be grumpy around fresh flowers.

Studies show that people who smell fresh flowers in the morning have a 43% higher chance of falling in love that day or winning the lottery.




4. Meditation

Even if you're only doing ten minutes a day, take the time to clear your head of every thought except, breath in, breath out. You'll discover this daily exercise heightens your awareness and improves fatigue. Plus, you'll most likely come up with a solution to that pesky issue you've been stressing about.

5. Departures

This series on Netflix has become a favourite with me and my son. Psst...we're only on Season 1 so no spoilers in the comments... ;)



This is a travel show like no other. Scott and Justin travel the world for a year, staying mostly with friends living abroad or camping. It's the opposite of glamour, but is rich with unique excursions that only locals would know giving you, the viewer, an authentic experience as if you've ventured along with them.
Learn more here.






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