Friday, February 22, 2013

Writing: High Concept

High concept is the term usually used for a one-sentence description from which a listener can imagine the story arc that follows. It actually originated, I'm told, in films, but is equally applicable for novels and even short stories. The ability to get a story down to one sentence helps not only in writing it, but in pitching it--it's the basis for the so-called "elevator pitch."

Here's a template for putting together a high-concept sentence. I got this from a number of sources, including Nathan Bransford and Karen Woodward. If there are others who also deserve credit, I apologize for omitting their names and attributions.

[protagonist name] is a [description of protagonist] living in [setting]. But when [complicating incident], [protagonist name] must [protagonist's quest] and [verb] [villain] in order to [protagonist's goal].

See, nothing to it...except doing the work, refining the pitch, and turning the concept into a book or movie. No problem.

Questions about writing? Leave them in the comments, and I'll do my best to answer them.

(photo via

No comments: