Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Premise, Shmemise

This is how I spent my Saturday afternoon --

I love taking one-day workshops on writing techniques and The Writer's Junction plays host to some great ones, including Storygeeks' How's Your Premise?: The 7-Step Premise Development Process Workshop.

An afternoon well spent! The class was geared more for screenwriters and novelists who are telling stories with a clear beginning, middle, and end, but I still found the information very helpful as I put together my next wave of original pilot pitches.

The biggest piece I learned from Storygeeks founder Jeff Lyons was about determining if you actually have a story or just a situation.

"Teresa wants to fly to the moon" is just a situation - a problem with a direct solution that doesn't reveal character. Boring.

"Teresa needs to find her way to the moon in order to confront the rocket scientist who could hold the key to proving her father's innocence" - now that's a story! It combines character motivation, plot complications, emotions, and human choice. You want to see it, right? Right?

While furiously taking notes in the class, I realized that some of the pilot ideas I've tried to develop in the past were just situations - they had no story! Like that awful idea about the orphans assassin agency that I beat to death before realizing it didn't work. I could have applied Jeff's 7-step premise process and saved myself a whole lot of time. Sigh...

If you're a writer who needs a little kick in the structure butt, I highly recommend this class. Click here for details on the next one Jeff is teaching at the Writer's Store in Burbank on April 21!

1 comment:

  1. Teresa,

    Thanx so much for the plug and the commentary. We had a lot of fun even as I pulled out everyone's fingernails. :)

    Thanx again,
    Jeff Lyons