Image: jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net’>Image: jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net’>Image: jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net’>Image: jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net’>jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
This workshop was given by Virna DePaul during RWA’s 2010 conference. So what’s a high concept novel? It’s one where the risks are high (think end of the world), and which can be summed up in one sentence. Think ‘bomb on a bus’ (Speed) or ‘dealing with in-laws’ (Meet the Parents). Ms. DePaul discusses the 5 qualities every high-concept novel needs:
- It Should be Relatable
Your reader should be able to identify with the theme of the story or with the characters. Maybe it’s about something we have all experienced (like divorce, or an affair), or something we’d like to experience (like love at first sight, or true love).
- It Should be Recognizable
It should relate to a current trend (like steampunk), or something that hits a nerve in society (like a post-apocalyptic world).
- It Should Have a Twist
There should be some twist that makes your story different. Think Sixth Sense.
- It Should be Layered
This goes to your worldbuilding. Make sure your world is rich in depth. What are the politics of your world? What are its rules?
- It Should be Expandable
Is your story series-worthy, that is, does it have potential to be expanded into a series?
So what do you think? What other qualities should a high-concept novel have? Do you have a favorite high-concept novel that you just can’t stop re-reading?
Next week I’ll be discussing some of the things I’ve learned about fostering your writing career.