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#NaNoWriMo Prep: What Do You Already Know about Your Story? | #amwriting #NaNo2018

Sunday, October 21, 2018

NaNoBy now, you’ve started a story bible structure and you’ve jotted down your ideas for your characters. But what about your story? What are you actually going to write about?

What’s Your Premise?
Premise—or what your story is about—is one of the essential elements to being able to write a complete draft of a story. Without your premise in place, how do you even know you have a story to write?

As I mentioned in the comments yesterday,

Because I write romance, I already have a basic structure around which to build a story. And I have to know the two main characters—otherwise, with romance, there is no story to start with. If I know those two characters and can figure out how they meet, then I have something to get me started writing.

I know that even though Jenn and Clay have known each other (and dated off and on) all their lives, I still need a meet-cute—the story of a romance doesn’t start until the heroine and hero actually come together on the page. That’s got to happen early on. I know that the bulk of the story will be the developing romantic relationship between these two characters—that there’s major history between them that includes a true and deep love, but there’s a major conflict keeping them apart. And I know they’ll eventually end up together. After all, it’s a romance novel.

So I know the basics of what happens in the story. But I don’t know the premise—I don’t know the why of the story. Why do these two fall (back) in love with each other? What might threaten this (last?) chance of a happily-ever-after for them? Why should readers care if they get a happily-ever-after ending?

Premise without Plotting
So, if we’re not going to plot the heck out of our stories before we start writing—if we’re planning to mainly do this by the seat of our pants—can we really have a premise without resorting to plotting?

That, for me, goes back to getting to know my characters. In a typical romance novel, it’s the characters’ arcs—mainly internal but with some external conflicts—that drive the plot of the story.

In FirstDraft60, I have a whole post dedicated to determining the premise of the story. If you want, you can go read that and spend time working out the details of a premise.

Or, you can do what I did right before I started writing this post. Which is take ten or fifteen minutes to free-write the idea that I’ve had swimming around my brain for a few weeks now as if I were writing back-cover copy:

Assignment: Spend ten to fifteen minutes free-writing/brainstorming your story’s premise.

  1. taylorsl83 permalink
    Monday, October 22, 2018 3:26 pm

    I love this simple Plantser approach! Working on it right now. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. taylorsl83 permalink
    Friday, October 26, 2018 1:53 pm

    I’m working with a married couple (it was an arranged marriage) who have been estranged for years when the their story starts…so a bit of second chance at love as well. 🙂


    • Friday, October 26, 2018 2:08 pm

      That is one of my absolute favorite romance tropes!!!


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