Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Premise


Ever feel like you're going in circles? Life can be busy and hectic. Sometimes at the end of the day you may wonder why you even got out of bed because you haven't accomplished what you wanted to. You had a plan and then because other things got in the way, you didn't meet your goal. 

This can happen to the book you're writing. When you start, you have a plan, but then a character takes over or you find some awesome research you just have to include, and now your book doesn't look at all like you thought it would. This is where having a premise for your story can help.

I didn't realize how important premise was for a novel until I wrote The Forgotten Warrior (my first published novel). I'd written several books before this one, but my focus was on plot and getting my characters from point A to point B. As I started Forgotten Warrior, I remembered a class I'd taken on script writing where the teacher had promoted the idea of working with a premise, and I decided to try it. I wrote my premise down on a strip of paper and taped it above my monitor. I wanted every scene to work toward it. 

Other writers may call premise theme, thesis, aim, driving force, purpose, or goal, but for the most part they all serve the same purpose: they keep your story focused.   


Having my premise where I could see it while I worked helped me immensely. I read it every day. It was as a gentle reminder, keeping my story on track.


I'd love to know what you think. Please tell me, do you write with a premise in mind?

10 comments:

  1. I laughed out loud. That's me! But I do write with a premise in mind.

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  2. Carol,
    The cat is cute. And brother, some days I feel just like that. :)

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  3. I always write with my story previously outlined. I don't think I could do it without having a premise. Love the cat. It's me, too.

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  4. I use a premise. Sometimes I just write with no beginning or end then find a way to tie things together. But overall I have a premise, usually a "What if ..." statement that help define the premise.

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  5. Roxy,
    I'm with you. Outlining helps a lot. Couple that with the premise and a story takes off.

    There's a little of that cat in all of us. ;)

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  6. Stephen,
    I never thought of a "what if" statement that defines the premise. Hmm, I'll have to give that a try. But I have to have a beginning and ending.

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  7. Having a premise really does help me to stay focused. I never thought of taping it to my compy, though. I think I might try that!

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  8. Laura,
    Having it on my monitor really helped to remind me to focus every scene towards the premise. You might like it. :)

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  9. I have a sticky with a quote on my laptop.

    If you do not hope, you will not find what is beyond your hopes.
    St. Clement of Alexandra (Greek theologian)
    Underneath it I added: If you do not write you will never have fulfilled your dreams.

    It keeps me writing. :)

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  10. Glynis,
    What a great motivational quote! Thanks for sharing it.

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