Friday, August 28, 2009

Secrets of Bestseller Premises Part 1

Mega hits.

Your first step towards your breakout novel is creating a bestselling premise. If you can do that, you can write a breath-taking ride of a story, the kind that keeps overworked, underpaid literary agents up at night. The kind that lands six figure publishing deals, including movie adaptions.

Sounds good, right? But how do you do it? How do you create an idea with bestseller potential? How do you yourself at the publishing world and take no prisoners? Let's get practical.

Just as there is a first step in crafting a bestseller, there is a first step in designing a premise with breakout potential. This first step, which I call "The Psychological Secret of Bestseller Premises," is the subject of this post. As you read it, as you sit there thinking about the information deeply, allow yourself to share it with your writer friends and family.

The psychological secret begins when you train your mind to filter everything through the question, "How can I use that in a story?" Another way to ask the same question is, "What if?"

Just this morning, as I was browsing through a gun magazine at my hotel in Atlanta, GA, I stumbled upon an article about self-defense. The article listed ways self-defense shootings go wrong. And my mind automatically started asking, "What if that did happen? What if ALL that bad stuff happened to someone? What would the person do? Why might it happen? What might make the situation worse?"

You see, bestseller premises grow best in open minds. Minds alert for the next big idea. So, to give you a practical action strategy, make it a point to stop throughout the day and ask yourself, "Can I use anything around me for a story?" It doesn't matter if you are reading the newspaper, watching TV, at the grocery store, or flipping through a gun magazine in Atlanta. Once you start to practice this seemingly simple question method, you will begin the process of training your mind to ask the questions and make the connections automatically. Over time, you start to pick up ideas others miss. You see the potential simmering just below the surface. Then, and only then, you are on your way.

Use the following quick tips to create your bestseller premise.

  1. Stop 3 to 4 times a day this week and look closely at your surroundings.

  2. Ask yourself, "Is there anything here I can use in a story?" It could be a character, a setting, a plot event, anything.

  3. Ask yourself, "What if that DID happen?"

  4. Notice how you feel about the idea. Are you excited and enthralled or nonchalant? If you feel powerfully about the idea, then you may be on to something.

  5. Write down the idea as soon as possible. You don't want to wake up tomorrow and realize you've forgotten the bestseller idea.

  6. Play with the idea. Who is involved? Why might it happen? Where might it happen? What might make matters worse? Even worse than that?

  7. Remember, when you find the right idea, you'll know. You'll often feel it in your gut. Your juices flow. You glace around hungrily, looking for a computer, a pen and paper, anything to scribble down the story.

If you have gained anything from this blog, please share it with others. It is my gift to you. It can become your gift to others.

Come back soon for the next installation, Secrets of Bestseller Premises Part 2.

Thank you for visiting.