Tag Archives: Story Premises

Questioning your story premises

Kay Kenyon recently published an excellent post on her blog titled Eight things I wish a pro had told me. It’s well worth reading. The suggestion that stood out the most to me was number 3:

Rigorously question your story premise. Before you get started on your next project ask whether this one is strong enough. Many books fail for lack of a memorable premise. Is your premise clear to you? Is it too complicated? Questions like these are legitimate and crucial.

I actually grabbed the last four sentences of the paragraph and pasted them at the top of my FICTION-Ideas text file. I have the sense that this is important advice for me. But I must admit that I’m also a bit unsure about what it means. How do I know if a premise is clear to me? What are the signs of that? And especially: how do I know if it’s too complicated? How does that complicated-ness manifest itself?

And what about the reverse? How do you know if a premise is too thin?