"I laughed, cried, felt the urgency . . . the story will take you to another dimension of 'ahhh' moments of reflection and insight that will 'gotcha.' I could read this book again and again and get something more. I enjoyed i from the second I began to read."

"A thick slice of MaryAnn Easley pie. Oozing UFOs, sweet on science, and warm with fantasy. This veteran children's writer's many young fans should be satiated.....for now!"

Friday, May 15, 2015



What exactly is a premise? 

A premise is something asserted to be true that the story you are writing will prove. In other words, a premise is "a proposition hypothetically supposed or held to be true; a basis of argument.” A premise is a proposition. The story is the evidence that supports the proposition.

So why is it so difficult for some of us to nail down a premise?

It's probably because we really don't know what we're writing about until we're into this unwieldy draft a dozen times. Also, we must dig deeper than the surface of the story and that means delving into our own presuppositions and getting to know ourselves better. If we have a conviction about the nature of human reality and that is something we believe to be true, one of the premises we hold, and we incorporate this into the story, the novel will take on new dimensions and have more universal appeal.

A premise is a promise. 

Here's an idea: Great love can defy even death. 

This promises a Romeo and Juliet type story, doesn't it?

A premise deals with universals—love, courage, responsibility, greed, freedom, justice, death, honesty, duty—and includes the fulfillment of the issue that's at the heart of the story.  The fulfillment in the R and J premise is the lovers will sacrifice their lives to be together after death.

For example, maybe we believe that a big city cop is going to be completely out of his element when he's called to a small beach town after an shark catastrophe.

Okay, if that's what we believe to be true, then here's one premise we might come up with for our story:

When a fish-out-of-water, big-city cop moves to a small, coastal town dependent on tourism, he must team with an oceanographer and a crusty sailor to convince the doubting, money-grubbing townsfolk to close their beaches because a giant, man-eating shark is lurking just offshore, until the shark strikes, forcing the townsfolk to allow the cop and his buddies to take on the shark mano-a-mano.

Sound familiar? Back copy for a book? Hype for a popular film?


Here's a shorter version:
When a great white shark starts attacking beachgoers in a coastal town during high tourist season, a water-phobic sheriff must assemble a team to hunt it down before it kills again.

If the story proves the premise, then it has succeeded in fulfilling its promise to the reader.

The act of creating a story premise is an act of clarification. It's an opportunity to explore and make clear to yourself and your readers a conviction or value you hold to be true. By focusing on the story premise, we can discover the story that is aching to be told.

Keep in mind that a good premise is a thumbnail synopsis of the idea behind the story. Therefore, it must contain the central theme or dramatic issue, the action or conflict, and the fulfillment of the idea or value.

And what am I doing at the moment? I'm working on my own story premise for CHANGED IN THE NIGHT. 

I have to put my money where my mouth is, right? We're discussing premise in my writing classes. I already have several versions. The more I refine the premise, the more I clarify the story for myself and for my readers. This really helps in final revision, in querying agents and publishers, and in enticing readers.

What's your book about? 

Work on the premise and find out. You'll learn a lot about your story and about yourself as well.