A Tale of Two Premises

Premise is a word I’ve seen used by some excellent authors of ‘how to write fiction’ books, and at first I was a little confused by what they meant; until I realised they used the word ‘premise’ to mean different things.

Take Donald Maass’s fabulous book ‘Writing the Breakout Novel’. He dedicates the whole of chapter two to premise. For him premise describes the core ideas of the story. He says it must be plausible, original, contain an inherent conflict and have gut emotional appeal. He also says premise can be ‘built’. Continue reading

How to Get Inside Your Character’s Head

Writing isn’t easy. Nobody said it would be. Thankfully there are copious books out there giving all sorts of advice on every aspect of the craft.

The one I’m currently reading is Revision and Self-Editing by James Scott Bell. Appropriate, as I’m currently revising Part I of my second novel, Cradlesnatch.

Mr Bell says many useful things in his book, but one I’m finding particular helpful is: get to know your characters by listening to them. Write a character journal, he says, to develop the character’s voice, and don’t edit along the way. It’s not an epic. Write in short snatches. Ask them deep and interesting questions.

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