I always thought to write a story, I needed good characters and a good setting. Turns out, you need a concept.
So, what’s that? Check out this post by Dorian Scott Cole where he explains what a concept is. Or skip it and read the blurb I copied from it. (Please note he not only does a much better job, he also goes on to give examples and explanations of each word in bold.)
“Typically a character wants something, which brings him into conflict with a second character. After a series of conflicts, which are handicapped by a subplot, and after a plot twist, the final battle erupts, and character one finally resolves the conflict. A fully developed concept should have all of the bold words in place.”
In other words, if you want your story to rock, you need conflict in the form of a concept not a premise. Hm…what’s the difference?
Larry Brooks explains the difference between a concept and a premise in this post on his award-winning blog.
And Dorian Scott Cole also adds his own explanation, “”Premise” is a common term used to describe what a screenplay is about. It is very similar to concept. You can develop a concept with a question, “if you do this, something is going to happen.” You may have to develop characters and write some of the story before you know what will happen and can write the concept. The premise, on the other hand, can be stated as an if…. then…. statement. If this happens, then this will happen. Your screenplay will always have one or more premises that can be drawn from it, and people may quarrel with your premise.”
Does that help at all? Hm. Here is another try from Writersdigest.com and one more from Nathan Bransford.
Concepts. I gotta get me some of those.