What to do with all this new learning I recently acquired in the writing department? Simple. Write a story. Next question.
Where to start? Again, simple. Find your story’s “high concept”. Terry Rossio gives a great explanation of the term, here.
So, all I have to do now is to get down to it.
Okay, so maybe, do some basic exercises to get on the right track?
Exercise in identifying ”high concept “ (in movies and novels)
- the world was discovered to be built on a code that kept mankind enslaved? (The Matrix)
- the dinosaurs were brought back to life? (Jurassic Park)
- the robots took over and started a nuclear war? (The Terminator)
- real life blended with animated life in a murder mystery? (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?)
- a dusty archaeology professor turned out to be a high-octane adventurer? (Indiana Jones series)
- an ancient Egyptian high priest was brought back to life? (The Mummy, 1999)
- humanity traveling in time and space could save the world? (Star Trek, 2009)
- two infamous pirates, one dead and one alive, fight each other for treasure? (Pirates of the Caribbean)
- a child was telling the truth about being able to see dead people? (The Sixth Sense)
- a single day was to repeat itself over and over again, seemingly for ever? (Groundhog Day)
- vampires did exist and only a reluctant schoolgirl could stop them? (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
- the toys of a child lived in a world of their own? (Winnie the Pooh)
- a sleepy town was suddenly faced with the benevolent anarchy of a girl with magic powers? (Pippi Långstrump)
- all the evil powers of the world was to be found in a single ring? (The Lord of the Rings)
- a child discovered that they belonged in a magic world? (Harry Potter series)
That’ll will do for now, but to be noted: The high concept is often embedded in a good story title, in order to point the audience in the right direction (and whet their appetite).