I read an interesting article last night from a book I downloaded onto my Kindle. The book is called “If Only I Had The Time” and it was put together by Scott Nicholson. Basically it is a collection of blogs written by writers about… writing. There are lots of fascinating articles in it about writing, marketing, rejections, expectations – very useful things that I really hadn’t thought of before.
Last nights article was called “What’s Your Premise?” by Alexandra Sokoloff. I must say that while this seems rather obvious, it was something I hadn’t really thought of. So many times when people ask me what I have written, I start a long winded review of the story – which apparently, is the wrong way to do things. Your story should be summarised in one sentence.
One sentence? How the hell do I condense down 47k of words into one sentence?
Alexandra had a formula, which had to contain the following elements: protagonist, antagonist, conflict, stakes, setting, atmosphere and genre.
So I sat down last night, and tried to nut out a premise for Medusa’s Garden. It was harder than I thought. Here are the options I came up with:
1. Medusa, a naive priestess, is cursed by Athena for a heinous act she is accused of doing.
Doesn’t quite sound right, plus it implies that Athena is the main antagonist in the story, but she isn’t. but I do like the start.
2. Medusa, a naive priestess, is cursed by Athena to a lifetime of isolation and despair for something she didn’t do.
This is getting a little closer to the truth, but still doesn’t quite work for me.
3. Medusa, a naive priestess is cursed by Athena to isolation and despair for a heinous act she is accused for doing.
Still makes Medusa sound guilty – she isn’t, plus it doesn’t really bring into play the other characters in the story.
4. Medusa, a naive and dedicated priestess of Athena’s temple, is cursed by the goddess to isolation when Poseidon violates the young girl within the temple.
This is starting to sound more like what I want, and introduces Poseidon who was a much bigger protagonist than Athena ever was in the story.
5. Medusa, a naive and dedicated priestess of Athena’s temple, is cursed by the goddess to a lifetime of bitterness and anger when Poseidon violates the girl within the temple.
I like this one. It tells what has happened to Medusa throughout the entire story, and the roles that the two dieties had to play in her life.
What do you think? Which one do you think sounds better? Or can you come up with a better one?
So thank you Alexandra for a very thought provoking article, and let you ask my readers a really good question. What is your story about?