[GUEST POST] How to Find the Premise of Your Story with B.R. Myers

Bethany, aka B.R. Myers, aka author extraordinaire of Rogue Princess is stopping by the blog today to give a little lesson on how to find the premise of your story! If you’re trying to spend your quarantine time writing a new book, (or just want to learn a few things) then this post is for you! HUGE thanks to Bethany for coming on my blog!

“Rogue Princess” is available to purchase now! (You can buy the Kindle version, or if you want a physical copy, please order one from your local independent bookstore!) Read my review and check out my interview with Bethany here.


How to Find the Premise of Your Story

The premise of your story is the backbone of the novel and helps keep you focused while writing. It’s also helpful when you have an idea and want to flesh it out. 

Plus, it gives you a quick answer to that dreaded question;

“So, what’s your book about?”

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But before you write a premise, you need to identify the major story elements, which are:

  • Character
  • Situation
  • Objective
  • Opponent
  • Disaster
  1. Character: pretty straight forward here, it’s your protagonist.
  2. Situation: This includes setting and external forces, ie: what kind of life does your MC have? Do they live in a futuristic version of New York or a stately English manor in the late 1800’s.
  3. Objective: What does your MC want? 
  4. Opponent: CONFLICT! What is preventing your MC from getting what they want.
  5. Disaster: Identify the worst thing that can happen to your characters. It can’t be rosy on the road to their goal. There should be something hanging over their heads as they navigate their way through the story.

Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s CREATE THAT PREMISE!

Basically, you’re going to bind all those elements together in one sentence, and that my friends, is the premise of your story. 

This is very handy for when people ask you what your story is about. You’ll have a quick answer that makes you sound like bourbon and evening jackets. 

As an example, I’m going to use an idea that’s been kicking around in my head for a new YA mystery. Let’s start with the 5 major elements.

Character: Drusilla Timmons, 19, fake medium

Objective: restore reputation and get rich

Situation: England mid 1800s

Opponent: Murderer

Disaster: ghosts 

Now, let’s put it together using this formula: 

Situation > Character > Goal > Opponent > Disaster

When her fake séance is raided, con-artist Drusilla Timmons loses credibility and her only income. Desperate, she takes on the task of helping a handsome widower find his bride’s murderer. But when she visits the reclusive manor, she discovers the wife’s ghost is real is ready for bloody revenge.

Or you can frame it as a question:

In a reclusive English manor, fake medium Drusilla Timmons needs to pull off the séance of her career to help bring a killer to light, but when the ghosts are suddenly real can Drusilla keep her wits and solve the mystery before she becomes the next victim?

I hope this helps! Have fun writing your premise!


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