Figuring Out What to Write

Some writers have problems deciding on what ideas to use and what to leave on the table. However, the solution is pretty simple- you need to sell yourself the idea before you sell it to an audience. If you’re not interested, an audience likely isn’t either.

One approach to solving this problem is writing a book blurb for your story, which lays out the fundamental ideas of the story in an interesting and lively way that attracts readers. If you get excited reading/writing this blurb, then that story might be for you!

Blurbs are written using formulas, and one of the best I’ve come across can be found here.

However, if writing a full book blurb is still too much for you, a simple core premise logline might be better at getting you started.

A Core Premise is the central idea of your story and a seed from which the rest of the story will grow. With it, you’ll know the story you’re trying to tell, and have a guiding star leading the way to the end!

To find your Core Premise, you’re going to use a very basic technique that writers for movies have been using for a long time. In the movie business, writers often approach producers and directors with ideas for films, but they use a very simple structured version of their idea called a logline to get maximum effect and make the producers interested. If they can use it to sell a movie to producers, you can use it to sell a story to yourself- so let’s get started!

A great Core Premise needs to describe most of the following things:

  1. One or two adjectives about the main character. (to give them personality)
  2. The main character’s role or job. (Don’t use a name, just their role for now.)
  3. Anything that’s important to know about the setting or setup for the story.
  4. What the main character’s clear goal is.
  5. One or two adjectives about the opposition. (to make them interesting)
  6. The antagonist, opposition or challenge they face. (Also no names, use roles instead.)
  7. A hint of what will happen if the protagonist loses, or the stakes involved. (to add drama)

These can be presented in any order, but usually go in the above order, and will produce one or two sentences that look like this:

A mousy college student (adjective, who) working in a used bookstore (setting) must find a mysterious book (goal) when her co-workers are possessed by evil spirits (adjective, opposition) that will escape the store at nightfall (stakes).

An overworked executive assistant (adjective, who) at a large corporation (setting) must choose between her work and her family (goal) when a long-time rival (adjective, opposition) threatens to steal a big project (stakes) during a family crisis.

A high school student (adjective, who) must find a way to tell her long-time crush her true feelings (adjective, challenge) before she moves to a new city and they lose touch forever (stakes).

It’s actually pretty easy and fun once you get the hang of it!

Try using the ideas you brainstormed to come up with a Core Premise that follows the rules above. You don’t need to use all the information you came up with, just the main ideas. Also, don’t be afraid to try different versions of the premise with different details until you get one that you like.

Once you’ve turned at least one of your story ideas into a good-looking Core Premise, then you should ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Does this story idea grab you and make you want to write it?
  2. Is this story going to be one you think will interest your target audience?
  3. Is this story going to make your readers feel something?

If a premise gets three solid answers of “yes!” then that’s the story you need to write. If none of them get a “yes” for all three questions, then you need to go back and brainstorm some new ideas and turn those into premises that will work for you.

How to Write Manga

My new book is up! What started as a revision of Write! Shonen Manga turned into an almost complete re-write with lots of new material and approaches. This book now covers how to…

  • Write both Shonen and Shoujo manga.
  • Master the Ki-Sho-Ten-Ketsu story structure that makes manga unique.
  • Create epic battle manga like NarutoMy Hero Academia and One Piece.
  • Design manga characters that your audience can’t get enough of.
  • Grab your audience and keep them reading until the end.
  • Make your stories come alive with emotion.
  • Craft romance and slice-of-life manga that your readers will love.
  • Produce four-koma gag manga.
  • And so much more!

How to Write Manga will give you the simple and essential tools you need to write your manga your way.

Get your copy today!

Write! Shonen Manga is now available on Smashwords for Free!

Last summer, I began revising my book Write! Shonen Manga towards a second edition, however the more I wrote the more it turned from being a second edition into not one, but two different books! The first of these was All the Write Moves which was published last fall on Amazon, and the second one is the upcoming How to Write Manga, which will be released this summer.

How to Write Manga will be an almost a totally different book, and at first, I just removed Write! Shonen Manga from publication and was going to let it vanish into obscurity. But, the truth is, I’m leaving so much useful information from Write! Shonen Manga on the editing floor that it seemed a shame to take it completely out of availability.

Thus, I have decided to compromise- Write! Shonen Manga is now available on Smashwords as a “Choose Your Own Price” book. If you want to get it for free, go ahead and grab it in the format of your choice. All I ask is that if you like it, you leave a review on Smashwords so that others can find it as well. And, if you really like it, consider picking up How to Write Manga when it becomes available.

Rob

Time to make All The Write Moves!

A little over a year ago, I released Write! Shonen Manga, and included a section for getting new writers up to speed based on my 20 years experience as a writer and teacher. To my surprise, that writing section got just as must praise from readers as the parts of the book about writing manga, and some even suggested making it into a book all its own!

Well, far be it from me to argue with my readers!

I present to you All the Write Moves: Your Essential Guide to Creating Great Fiction, a revised and expanded guide to mastering the basics of writing fast and telling stories that you’ll be proud to share. It’s a small book, but filled with the major things all the great writers know by heart!

  • Ways to make your book engaging and exciting to readers.
  • Ways to write conflict and non-conflict based stories that resonate with readers.
  • Simple, practical ways to structure your stories.
  • Techniques to let you develop a full story from plot, character, setting, themes, or even your target audience.
  • Easy ways to make your target audience fall in love with your characters.
  • How to write scenes and sequences that fit together organically.
  • Special tricks that authors have been using to brainstorm and develop ideas for decades.
  • And so much more!

So, go give it a click! You never know what you might learn, and whatever kind of storyteller you are, there’s something in here for you!

Rob