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  1. Whitepaws

    Whitepaws Member

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    Pesky premise

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Whitepaws, May 12, 2017.

    I don't know why, but I always get stuck at the premise.

    My latest premise is: Trusting one's self defeats ruthless ambition

    I was told it wasn't going to get me far because it needs to be in some sort of need, belief or fear statement form.

    How do you write your premise?
     
  2. NiallRoach

    NiallRoach Contributor Contributor

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    Personally, I don't.
    That said, that is a belief, isn't it? What you have at the minute, I mean.
     
  3. QualityPen

    QualityPen Member

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    I think it makes more sense to find a type of story you want to tell and decide on the style in which you will tell it. Several themes will emerge out of that, and at that point you can decide if there is a greater message you want to get across to your readership. Bundle the themes and your message into a premise.
     
  4. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The game sour like a pickle be.... Contributor

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    That's more of a theme than a premise, no?
     
    xanadu and OJB like this.
  5. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    This IS a theme, not a premise. A Premise is an idea for a story that will prove, or disprove, this statement.
     
  6. Ulquiorra9000

    Ulquiorra9000 Member

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    Yup, that's a theme. A premise covers what the story's events are about, not what the story's ideas are about. To me, a premise is like a very broad, 10-20 word plot summary with no spoilers. I have a WIP whose 4th draft will have a theme of temptation and the dark side of power and revenge, but the premise is two sisters getting revenge on a crime boss who killed their dad without losing themselves in the process.
     
  7. xanadu

    xanadu Contributor Contributor

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    I don't start with a premise, nor do I really pay attention to what my "premise" is for a story. I certainly don't do anything formal.

    If you're struggling to move beyond this single statement, I'd recommend determining what kinds of conflict you get derive from that premise (or theme, or what have you). Conflict is what drives story, after all.
     
  8. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I agree that it's a theme, and I'm not sure what it means. Is the trust and ambition experienced by the same character, or is the self-trusting character opposing the ambitious character?
     
  9. Ettina

    Ettina Senior Member

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    Yep, that's a theme, not a premise.

    For a few examples:

    Story 1:
    Theme: diversity is not always pretty, but it's important to have
    Premise: autistic person smuggled onto a interplanetary colony ship despite not passing the psychological health screening, finds her place among them

    Story 2:
    Theme: loving someone, being betrayed, and forgiveness
    Premise: zombies are tricked by a fake necromancer who pretends he raised them from the dead in order to get them to enact his revenge

    Story 3:
    Theme: just because someone made you doesn't mean that they deserve your loyalty, solidarity for those who are in the same boat as you
    Premise: three monsters created by an evil overlord go on a mission and realize that they can't trust their overlord, and should ally with each other instead of competing for his approval
     
  10. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Eittina,

    The first two are not strong enough, they lack a goal and a conflict.

    Story 3 has a goal, but a muddled conflict.
     

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