“Writing fiction is hard,” one of our writers’ group members said in our final meeting before the holidays. “Next year, I’m choosing just two strategies. With just two, maybe I can focus and get better at writing.”
We all loved her “two strategies” idea. The writer shared her strategies with us, then we each chose our own.
Writing fiction: high concept and emotion
I decided that my two strategies would be: to develop high concept ideas, and to think more about emotion in my fiction.
“High concept” ideas for writing fiction: what are they?
“High concept” comes from the world of screenwriting.
I define high concept ideas as those ideas which are instant attention grabbers. Often they include a genre trope. These ideas are easy to identify: check the blurbs of bestselling books.
Currently I’m on a Loretta Chase reading kick; I adore her novels. From the blurb of her novel A Duke in Shining Armor:
“A Runaway Bride… Lady Olympia Hightower finds herself sneaking out the chapel window, in a mad, attempt to escape her glorious future as a duchess.”
(“Runaway bride” is a popular trope in romance novels and movies.)
The authors of novels in the Domestic Thrillers genre strive for high concept ideas.
From the blurb of Laura Elliot’s The Wife Before Me:
“…she doesn’t know what really happened to Amelia.
“Until the day she discovers the torn page of a letter and the words she reads chill her to the bone.
“Elena must find the person who wrote these letters if she is to save herself.”
The Wife Before Me sounds as if it might be inspired by the story of wife-murderer Bluebeard.
I don’t know whether focusing on developing high concept ideas will improve my fiction, but it can’t hurt, and it’s fun too.
Emotion is everything when you’re writing fiction
When you write fiction, you’re writing to entertain:
Your aim in your fiction is to entertain readers, and to keep them reading. “Entertainment” essentially means “emotion.” Somehow, some way, you must make your readers feel.
Make a list of your three favorite novels and movies. Then write down the primary emotions each engender in you.
… how do you keep readers reading?
Emotion is always the key to writing novels which make readers live in the world of your fiction and care what happens to the characters. And emotionally-driven stories start with you.
Are you writing fiction? Choose two strategies for this year
If nothing else, choosing strategies for 2020 can start you thinking about your fiction in a new way.
Please share your strategies! 🙂
At 24, not only is Molly Ballantine stunning, she has two sisters she loves, and a wonderful career. Then her eldest sister Tara vanishes, and her life disintegrates.
Molly's life is about to become even more chaotic. She wakes up in a brothel with a man who's too good-looking for her peace of mind.More info →