Before you go any further with your novel, you need to write a premise for your story. A premise is a concise sentence which conveys to the reader what your book is about and entices them to read it. It’s a sentence you can use anytime to quickly gain interest. Your premise may change as you start writing your novel, but this will give you a place to start which helps you feel confident about what you’re writing from the onset and will help you stay focused.
5 Key Components Of Writing A Premise: Character, Situation, Objective, Opponent and Disaster.
What are you writing about? Write it down in one or two sentences. For instance:
“I’m writing a fantasy story about a guy who meets some mystical creatures in a forest”.
That’s a good place to start your premise. But it doesn’t entice the reader to read your book. Right now this explanation is a little boring, right? You want to capture your reader’s attention from the moment they ask the question. And most people won’t be able to ask you in person, so your premise on the back cover of your book needs to stir their curiosity and encourage them to read it.
Here’s a very simple example of developing a premise:
- Who is your main protagonist character? (Hero)
“His name is Dave”.
- What is his present situation? (Occupation, relationship or whatever’s going on in his life).
“He works at a coffee shop”.
- What does he want? (The treasure or objective).
“He wants to escape the drudgery of his job and start his own business”.
- Who or what stands in his way? (The antagonist is whatever opposes the hero and can be a person or situation).
“He doesn’t make enough money to start the business because his boss (the antagonist) won’t give him extra hours”.
- What happens to change his life? (This is your exciting plot which will be your storyline)
“He’s met by a band of creatures in the forest and they take him to a mystical city hidden in the forest. They show him how to make delicious pastries from organic ingredients found in a secret part of the forest. The pastries are healthier and actually help with weight-loss. Dave sees the potential for a successful business and when he returns home he starts making his own pastries and selling them at a stall in the market. He makes enough money to open his own bakery”.
- Your story will need some exciting conflict, so what could get in the way of Dave’s ambitions?
“His boss steals the recipes”.
Writing The Premise Sentence #WritingPremise
Condense your sentences until you have all the information in one concise sentence.
“Dave, a dissatisfied coffee shop employee, wants nothing better than to quit his job and open his own business but lacks the finances to do that until he meets mystical creatures in the forest who change Dave’s future in a surprising way, but Dave’s boss isn’t ready to let him go that easily”.
This is the sentence you use as your premise.
For more ideas of how to condense your premise, you can check the back cover of other authors’ books, or check the descriptions at Amazon.com or ChristianAuthors.ca
And, by the way, if you come across those pastries, please let me know!
Till next time, I hope you are blessed.