Four Elements That Make a Book a High Concept

Janet Grant

Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant

If you had 1-3 sentences in which to convince someone to buy your book, what would you say?

Your answer reveals your manuscript’s high concept. High concept is a phrase used in the film industry for an idea that’s so simple you can describe it in one to three sentences. AND the idea needs to be fascinating, not run-of-the mill.

Whether a manuscript is fiction or nonfiction, it can be high concept.

1. High concept requires that the idea be unique or a twist on a familiar idea.

Obviously, for a novel, you can’t tell all the plot details in a sentence or two. Instead, you want to focus on what sets your story apart. For example, Rene Gutteridge’s novel Misery Love Company can be described this way: Unlike Stephen King’s Misery, the tables are turned and a best-selling author kidnaps a fan to exact revenge. The fan must figure out why.

Misery Loves Company is high concept because it’s a twist on a story most of us are familiar with–and Misery is high concept because it, too, was a twist on a familiar idea: a rabid fan wanting to get up-close-and-personal with a best-selling author.Misery Loves Company

For a nonfiction book, a potential reader might not get jazzed about a book recounting parenting challenges in today’s secularized world. Been there, read that. But a book about a family that went one year unplugged electronically every Sabbath and spent that time together…not only is that idea engaging, but it’s also high concept.

2. The idea must be exotic without being weird. (It must appeal to a broad audience.)

If you chose to write a novel about a chicken that wanted to occupy the farmer’s body, that book probably wouldn’t have broad appeal. A few other quirky thinkers might gravitate to the idea, but most readers would not find this a fascinating topic. It’s unique but also kind of weird.

In nonfiction, if you wrote about a town that decided to collect all the plastic bags in the community and piled them in the town’s square, that’s weird. What’s the point? BUT if the community collected the bags and made them into beautiful tote bags, donating the money to an environmentally-oriented nonprofit, that starts sounding like an idea readers would want to check out.

 3. The description contains the conflict.

For a novel, what problem is the protagonist trying to solve? If it’s relevant and explains what’s unique about the idea, you might also add what barriers make it difficult to solve. If the setting is an important part of the story, that should be included as well.

Gone with the Wind, for example, is a high concept book that I would describe this way: During the Civil War, Scarlett O’Hara, a cunning Southern woman, connives to find love but doesn’t recognize it when she sees it. Instead, she spends most of her life pursuing Ashley Wilkes, who is unsuited to her.

Condensing such an immense work into two sentences leaves out vast swaths of details, but when boiled down to its essence, the concept can be communicated. I’ve provided the time period, just a glimpse of the setting, who the protagonist is, what (main) problem she’s trying to solve and the major barriers she encounters.

For a nonfiction book, the problem it sets out to fix should be pretty apparent. If not, back to the drawing board with you!

Even a devotional is solving a problem: Our struggle to spend time with God. But if you add to the manuscript’s description what makes this devotional unique, you’ll hone in on the high concept.

4. All of these elements must be true of a manuscript for it to be high concept.

If you can’t check off from your list each of the above qualities, your idea isn’t high concept.

So what? Why is high concept even important?

Because the idea of the book is sold over and over again: to an agent; to an editor; to a publishing committee; to a bookstore buyer; to the reader; and from one reader to that person’s sphere of influence.

If the book is hard to talk about, it’s a lot harder to convince people to be interested. It’s unlikely anyone in that string of individuals listed above will respond positively to this single sentence: “It’s hard to describe, but it’s great.” Yawn.

High concept forces the writer to define what the core of the manuscript is about, and that definition will keep the book from meandering.

High concept means the book is marketable.

High concept helps the writer to discover his/her voice. The concept itself might help the writer to figure out the voice in which the book must be written. When Rene decided to create a takeoff on Stephen King’s book, she knew she would have to generate suspense and sustain it. As a matter of fact, when Rene first told me about this idea, her pitch to me contained why the fan was kidnapped. But that information is withheld in the book’s back cover copy and in all publicity because giving away too much spoils the suspense.

Now it’s your turn. Try a hand at writing your own high concept description of Gone with the Wind.

How would you describe the high concept of your WIP?

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  1. A Southern belle, spoiled and selfish, wants only one man, Ashley Wilkes. Does rakish gambler Rhett Butler want Scarlett O’Hara? Or does he just want to win the prettiest prize in Atlanta?

    Or is the Carol Burnett version way better, because that’s what is playing in my head right now, drapes, curtain rod, and all. “This? Why I saw it in the window and I just had to have it.”

    • Janet Grant says:

      I like your pitch, Jennifer. But now I’m completely undone by Carol Burnett’s version…

    • Mrs. Major, I am afraid I am at a loss…why are the window coverings involved with Mrs. Burnett’s summation of the theme of “Gone With The Wind”?

      • In the film, “Gone With the WInd”, the main character, Scarlett O’Hara, finds out that the man she loves, Rhett Butler, is coming to visit. In the film, she sees the velvet drapes on the window and tears them down and makes herself a new gown. Of course, in reality, it would takes days and days to make such a dress!
        In the parody, “Went with the Wind”, the character “Starlett”, rips the drapes off the window and throws them on, still in the curtain rod. At the time the skit was filmed, almost everyone knew the film and therefore, the visual cues, or “sight gag” as it is called, sent the audience into hysterical laughter, simply because of the outlandish humour of a woman wearing a dress made of drapes, with the curtain rod still attached to the fabric. It was one of the most masterfully done parodies in American television history. But it was the simple curtain rod that elevated the creative genius of the costumes. Something as trite as that curtain rod spoke highly of the writers and costume designers’s grasp on the minute details that made the skit such a success. If the curtain rod had NOT been there, the skit would not have been as funny.

    • Thank you for the clarification, Mrs. Major. There are aspects to this culture with which I am yet unfamiliar, and I greatly appreciate your taking the time to explain this. I shall look for this episode on Youtube.

      “Gone With The Wind” is a very Indian story, one that resonates with the pitfalls of human frailty and the triumph of strong souls in adversity.

      • My pleasure to help. And enjoy the parody!

      • Sheila King says:

        There is also the double meaning of “I saw it in the window”. In our society, people “window shop” meaning that they just look in the store window to see the displays. So when Scarlet says, “I saw it in the window” it has the double meaning since curtains hang on windows, but also the idea of window shopping.

  2. Natalie Monk says:

    My Gone With The Wind logline:
    A spoiled Georgia belle chases idyllic dreams of love and luxury in the war-torn South.

    Logline for my historical romance:
    Drafted into the ministry, a reticent parson must convert his estranged wife before his congregation discovers he’s married.

    Thanks for this fun post, Janet!

    • Janet Grant says:

      Natalie, good GWTW tagline.
      I’m a little confused with your novel’s tagline as I jockey that he has an uncoverted, estranged wife, and that the congregation doesn’t know he’s married. It’s a lot to take in in one sentence. Also, I don’t know what time period or locale your story takes place in so I can’t picture it. I think your description would benefit going 2-3 sentences. But you did a good job of showing the potential conflicts, secrets being kept, etc.
      Thanks for sharing it!

      • Natalie Monk says:

        Thank you for the feedback, Janet!

        This one’s from my completed novel, Heart of Valor, one I’ve had more time to work with, so maybe it’ll be a little better:

        In 1878 Mississippi, a prodigal returns for his family’s forgiveness, only to find his father dead, his family farm up for auction and his sweetheart set on marrying his brother.

        Thanks for the great tips in this post! I’m still plotting that first one, so I’ll definitely use this advice.

      • Janet Grant says:

        Natalie, I like the logline for your completed novel. Very good work!

    • Sounds interesting!

  3. For GWTW –

    Losing the Civil War couldn’t make Scarlett O’Hara grow up. Losing her love did, but will she be in time to win him back?

    For my WIP –

    When a crippled veteran lost his fiancee, he thought he’d given all he had. But with the dawning of a new love, God demanded more.

  4. I would like to put forward the following for “Gone With The Wind”:

    Antebellum privilege has endowed Scarlett O’Hara with the wasteful avarice of a foolish heart…will this blind her to her best chance for genuine love?

    Here is an attempt for my own work:

    An officer of the Indian Army leaves profession, faith, family and culture to follow a headstrong young Englishwoman back to her newly-penurious family in postwar Surrey, only to find rejection and heartbreak. With no road home, is there a way ahead?

    • Ohhh, sounds good! One rarely hears of such a storyline.
      I think the fact that your male MC is Indian, and follows an Anglo woman to her home is enough to enthrall the reader, as how often did that happen in real life during the years of British rule in India?
      I would most definitely read this!!

      • Before Independence, Mrs. Major, it was virtually impossible. There were Englishwomen who married Indians, but they remained in India (where they were by and large accepted in the Indian community, whilst being rejected by their own).

        My story takes place just after Independence, when such a scenario was possible, though quite rare. Some English found that after living in India, the lure of ‘home’ was more sentimental than practical. They became ‘white Indians’; and it was therefore not terribly unusual for young Englishwomen, raised in India, to fall in love with upper-caste Indians, and most particularly with the casteless Sikhs.

        Most of these relationships died a-borning, but some weathered the scorn of impoverished post-colonial England to become beacons of love and perseverance, unsung heroes and heroines of God’s message of love for all.

    • I had to smile at the “blind her” immediately following this discussion of “saw it in the window.”

      But I concur with your use of “blind her” relating to the original story.

    • Ooh, I’d read that.

  5. Thank you, Janet, for such a timely post for me. I just started something new in the past few weeks. I’ve researched characters, outlined, and written the first few chapters. I was just thinking over the weekend that I need to boil it down to those two to three sentences today. I don’t have anything to share right now, but I’ll be perusing your post again this afternoon. Thank you again!

  6. Jim Lupis says:

    High Concept, is a great concept to have, Janet. Thank you for a very stimulating post.

    My WIP…

    Anti-Semitism was intensifying long before 1933, but that year the catalyst was activated to bring the world on a collision course with destruction. Something else would happen that Joni never expected. She would fall in love.

    • Christine Dorman says:

      Falling in love in the midst of the gathering storm of WWII–interesting, Jim. There are a couple of things, though, that I’d like to know as a potential reader. I’d like to know whether Joni is Jewish and whether or not the person she falls in love with is Jewish, non-Jewish, Nazi? (Maybe that’d be giving too much away.) Also, I’d love to know the setting: Germany, Poland, somewhere else? As you can see, I’m interested, but I think a couple more details would not only hook me, but reel me in.

      • Jim Lupis says:

        Joni was an orphan. Of more significance, she was a Jew living in 1933 Germany. Each year a deeper oppression seemed to cover her surroundings until even breathing became difficult. St. Mary’s was her Garden of Gethsemane. Gethsemane literally means olive press, and Joni found herself being pressed beyond measure with each new day.

        Then comes an American Missionary who changes her world. Keeping this to three sentences is the challenge. Thanks, Christine.

      • Christine Dorman says:

        Thanks, Jim. The story sounds wonderful.

        I agree that trying to turn a complex novel into a pitch of one to three sentences is definitely challenging. It is also great, though, in that it forces me to come to grips with the essence of what my story really is about.

  7. A Round Grove of Trees-Held prisoner at Bosque Redondo by the US Army after the forced relocation of the Navajo Nation, Tsi’tnaginnie catches the eye of Clara Fallon, daughter of the military chaplain. Ruin awaits him if he escapes, death is promised if he stays, and untold suffering is certain if Tsi’tnaginnie and Clara are caught by those who want noting more than to destroy them both.

  8. Sheila King says:

    GWTW – Scarlett,the original mean girl,with an antebellum life of privilege was not prepared for the hardships of war and heartbreak of enduring great loss. Will the chance of true love persuade her to think of anyone but herself?

    My WIP (just finished)
    Sixth grade Joey is shocked to meet his doppelganger, but even more stunned to discover that his town is full of them. Together with a misfit band of lonely, desperate people, they solve a century old mystery. Lots of people “come of age”, but will Joey be one of them?

    • Janet Grant says:

      Sheila, it seems that for your WIP, you want to keep focused on the doppelganger idea. Maybe the century-old mystery has something to do with that, but I can’t tell from your description.

  9. Oh, I have to play! 🙂 But I need so much help here … and I don’t have all day … need a year! 🙂

    GWTW—
    Scarlett O’Hara, a spitfire of a Southern Belle, is too stubborn to realize the love of her life and that she’s grown to care.

    WIP—
    Azzie makes a wish for freedom that happens to come true! But at the end of the day, this common house cat must choose—freedom or surrender being lost for his sister, Lucy, to be found.

    • Christine Dorman says:

      Shelli, I like that you didn’t mention that Azzie was a house cat until the second sentence. I assumed he was human and “this common house cat” made me sit up and pay attention. It also gave me a “Oh! Life from a cat’s point of view” positive reaction. The conflict is good (do I do what’s best for my life or what’s best for the one I love?). I think many humans can relate to that and will be able to understand the struggle. The phrase after the dash just needs some work in terms of the structure. “…freedom or surrender being lost” is a parallelism error. Also, I’m not sure exactly what “surrender being lost” means. Must he become lost for Lucy to be found (if so, how long will he be lost? Can he find his way back to his home?) Or does it mean he will never regain freedom?

      It’s really hard to write a pitch like this on a blog. Currently, I have a lot of noise going on around me, so I’m a little afraid about how mine will turn out.

      The book sounds great! Blessings! 🙂

      • Christine … thank you so much for the feedback! “Surrender being lost” … he wants to be lost … he wants freedom … to be an outdoor cat. Lost = freedom. He doesn’t want to be a house cat. He’s not very content in his circumstances! 🙂 His sister always follows him. So … his sister is in a bad predicament … and the only way he thinks she can be found is if he allows his family to find him first. If that makes sense! And it means totally losing his freedom. For now!! 🙂

        I have much work to do on this!! 🙂

      • Christine Dorman says:

        You’re welcome, Shelli. Thanks for explaining the phrase “surrender being lost” makes complete sense now that you’ve explained. I guess I just needed to think more like a cat. 😉

      • Christine Dorman says:

        Sorry for my fused sentence! I have a hard time thinking and writing. 😉

        It should read: Thanks for explaining. The phrase…(etc.).

  10. Jim Lupis says:

    A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Church

    The Badabinga family wasn’t your typical Italian-American family. When they are car-jacked and kidnapped on their way to the first time ever attending church, the world discovers – you don’t mess with (the) family.

  11. Christine Dorman says:

    Thank you, Janet. I have wondered what “high concept” meant. Thank you for explaining it.

    I’m not going to pitch GWTW as others have done such a great job with it. I cannot do better.

    Here is the high concept for my novel. I would appreciate feedback from everyone on the blog who has the time to give it. I’ve written my pitch over and over and still am not happy with it (although I think it’s getting closer).

    Sixteen-ages-old faerie, Siobhan, embarks upon a banned Life Path. The journey takes her first to the strange world of the humans, then to the treacherous Dragon Kingdom. Along the way, she discovers her family has lied to her about her identity, and she becomes entangled in a political plot that endangers not only her, but her family and homeland as well.

    • Janet Grant says:

      I like the first two sentences, but I wondered, as I read them, if rather than being a statement of the high concept, this was a summary of the plot line. By the time I read the next sentence, I kind of got lost because there’s so much to take in. Simplify, tell me just the high concept.
      It’s tough, I know, because when you think about your WIP, you see each piece that leads to the next. High concept is only the essence of the story, not the details.
      Your novel sounds awesome!

      • Christine Dorman says:

        Thank you for the feedback, Janet! It is so helpful.

        I felt the pitch was too long and you confirmed that.

        Thank you for your encouragement about the novel. You made my year! 😀

        A teenage faerie embarks on a banned path and finds herself entangled in a political plot that endangers not only her, but her family and homeland as well.

        What do you all think? Is it an improvement or not?

        Blessings everyone!

      • Definite improvement, Christine! 🙂 It’s a tough challenge …

      • Christine Dorman says:

        It is indeed challenging. Thank you , Shelli, for the feedback. I appreciate it a lot. 🙂

    • Jim Lupis says:

      It may be a lot to take in, but you have my attention. I’m interested in her journey to the “strange world of humans.” That must be some chapter. 🙂

      • Christine Dorman says:

        Thank you, Jim!

        Siobhan goes through a bit of culture shock when she goes into the human world. 🙂

    • Christine … these attempts make me feel like … I need to go to Disney World! 🙂 And fast.

  12. Now this is high concept to end all high concepts:

    The Spacious Firmament on high,
    With all the blue Ethereal Sky,
    And spangled Heav’ns, a Shining Frame,
    Their great Original proclaim:
    Th’ unwearied Sun, from day to day,
    Does his Creator’s Pow’r display,
    And publishes to every Land
    The Work of an Almighty Hand.

    Joseph Addison

  13. This is really helpful! Thank you!

  14. I finally had a chance to sit down and “play.” I love reading others’ story concepts! Here’s mine. 🙂

    Widow and nonprofit manager Tiana Emory simply wants to find her new normal as she and her two children begin a new life in Denver. A college friend asks her to help his foundation come through a scandal, and she agrees to help. But, when someone inside the organization discovers a secret about her and threatens to go public, Tiana must come to terms with her past before she can truly help the foundation and learn how to live in freedom in her present.

    Janet, is it good to try and get the theme of the story when conveying the high concept idea?

    • Janet Grant says:

      Jeane, when coming us with the high concept, you’re mostly concentrating on telling what’s unique about your manuscript. It’s unlikely your theme is unique.
      Your sentences for your WIP feel more like a summary of the story than honing on its uniqueness. That’s part of what’s tricky about writing these sentences; a person tends to want to recount story details. Maybe it would help if you ask yourself, What’s the conflict in the story that will carry the reader through to the end? That might help you find the essence of what you’re writing.
      I’m sure everyone who has written their high concepts here empathizes with you on how hard this is to do!

  15. Wanda Rosseland says:

    This is very interesting, Janet. I’ve never heard the term “High Concept” before, or its use in describing either books or films. Thanks so much for explaining it to us.

    GWTW–A spoiled plantation owner’s daughter spurns the love of a Civil War racketeer, to pursue the heart of a Southern Gentleman who has no interest in her. Her willfulness causes the destruction of her family and the love she has denied.

    My WIP–NF
    Do angels come when you call? Does God send help when you ask? These never-before-told true stories of heavenly angels show how God’s messenger’s can appear in surprising and unexpected ways, sometimes as close as your own back yard.

  16. Janet Grant says:

    Wanda, your GWTW first sentence is genius! I love the way it sets up the core conflict. You don’t actually need the second sentence; I’m buying the book off of the first words out of your mouth.
    I also like your WIP high concept. Yeah, you’re writing nonfiction; that makes you our first nonfiction contributor to the conversation.

    • Wanda Rosseland says:

      Oh, just laughing here, Janet. I’ve been called a lot of things, but genius is not one of them! Thank you so much, and for liking the High Concept sentences of both books. I really appreciate you going over them and giving your feedback.

  17. In a pitch … is it okay to ask questions? Or should we keep to statements?

    • Janet Grant says:

      shelli, a question only works if the person you’re pitching is likely to respond with a yes or if the question raises anticipation. I once received a query that asked me about some basketball event in the first sentence. The person writing the query assumed I would answer “yes,” but actually my response was “no.” Basketball isn’t my thing. I’d say asking a question is tricky to pull off, but if done right, could be effective.

  18. Thank you, Janet, for teaching us about high concept. The hardest part is knowing how much to include and what to leave out–this is tough.

    Here’s mine: A young police officer, bored with traffic patrol, leads his first homicide investigation in hopes of a career breakthrough, but he’s also hoping he won’t break the heart of his flirtatious co-worker while they try to solve the case and prevent another murder. He just wants to be friends.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

    • Janet Grant says:

      Wendy, I like the beginning of your paragraph, but it kind of wimps out at the end. Is the flirtatious woman a coworker or his partner in the investigation. “Coworker” seems like a weak word. I think you need to up the conflict by saying something like “but the investigation turns deadly and anything but boring when he realizes the murderer intends to strike again.”

      • Janet, thank you so much for your help.

        Wimpy won’t do for a murder mystery… so here’s a revision:

        A young police officer, bored of traffic patrol, leads his first homicide investigation hoping for a career breakthrough without breaking his work partner’s heart, but the stakes for both of them turn deadly when their private lives and the killer’s intersect near the scene of the crime.

      • Janet Grant says:

        Wendy, much better!

  19. BL Whitney says:

    Thanks for all the wonderful GWTW posts. This prompted me to take up my query after a too-long break.

    My offering (WIP):

    The Gathering of the Three: When Hannah, a young medical student, meets a spirit guide named Ariel, she discovers she has the power to heal with touch, but when she uses her ability, dark spirits try to destroy her. If she is to follow her destiny and stop the dark spirits, she must join forces with two unlikely allies who also have extraordinary gifts: Mason, a blue collar martial artist who sees spirits, and David, a wealthy protégé and Hannah’s old boyfriend, gifted with the power to read life charts.

    Best wishes, Brandy

    • Janet Grant says:

      BL, I might prune it a bit. We don’t need to know about the martial arts or that David is wealthy and Hannah’s old boyfriend, etc. Take another swing through and cut out everything that isn’t absolutely necessary. You’ve written a good paragraph that just needs whittling down.

      • BL Whitney says:

        Janet, thank you SO much for your response!

        When Hannah, a young medical student, meets a spirit guide named Ariel, she discovers she has the power to heal with touch, but when she uses her ability, she is attacked by dark spirits out to destroy her.

        Is high concept the same thing as the hook in the query?

      • Janet Grant says:

        BL, that’s excellent! A vast improvement over your first try. I declare this a winning pitch!

    • BL Whitney says:

      Thanks so much, Janet, I really appreciate it. Brandy

  20. Joe Plemon says:

    I pruned my WIP offering to one sentence.

    A big time television preacher battles to save his marriage after the paparazzi catch him kissing the wrong woman.

  21. Ha! I’d forgotten about that Carol Burnett skit. Thanks for the laugh.

    My WIP:
    A single mother has taken her first steps away from public assistance by landing a job. However, her desire to build a stable home for her son is jeopardized by the instability of jobs in their run-down New England mill town and by her own tendency to put others’ needs over her own.

    • Janet Grant says:

      Barbara, thanks for telling us about your project. It seems as though the conflicts are: 1) trouble keeping a job; 2) too busy thinking of others to take care of herself. When it’s boiled down to those issues, I wonder if the stakes are high enough for your protagonist. The more to be lost, the higher the stakes (one’s life vs. one’s job, for instance). You need to tell us what can be lost, if aspects of her life go south, and we need to think the losses put much in peril.

  22. Emily R. says:

    Here’s my WIP:

    After being released from a five year stay in juvenile corrections, Cassandra Carlton has only seven days to decide where she’ll take her stand. She could stay in Hope Town with a foster family and her estranged sister, or she could run away to find the best friend she can’t even remember. Either way, the death threat scrawled long ago into the front of her Gideon Bible hints that nowhere is safe.

  23. Dave Clark says:

    I’ve gone nuts for a few years, sending out queries that stick by guidelines from various agent websites and agents, with little success. There seems to be almost no standard guidelines that can elevate a query above the fray unless a blind stroke of luck hits. All those ideas and suggestions are in conflict, and it’s dizzying. However, your advice here elegantly ties in with two factors I really never pursued: One agent has said that all you’re doing is getting someone to read the book, period. This echoes what I did many years ago with a horrific manuscript; I essentially suckered an editor into requesting my full, by writing a brief-yet-frantic query which claimed my story had to be told for the good of civilization, among other things. With your definition here (which is even briefer than another source defining the term) I managed to hone my query core down to TWO bare sentences, and I discovered to my shock that I may have written a high concept novel! I’ve had difficulty defining its genre, probably because I failed to do this. Onward, now, with fresh new queries featuring just TWO lines. I’ll post them here on request.

  24. Linda says:

    Log Line from my first book: Just Another Termination
    On the pre-Katrina MS Gulf Coast, a career HR manager fleeing bad bosses and guilt-ridden memories finds a good job, but when a no-call-no-show is shot to death, she must solve the murder in order to free herself from the demons of her past.
    For my second book (A promotion to Die For). An HR manager takes a promotion located in a town where, thirty years earlier, an unidentified man killed a young woman after a botched attempt to kill her, and she sets out on a dangerous mission to find him.

    • Janet Grant says:

      Linda, clever use of HR terms for your taglines. I wonder, for your first novel, why Katrina is mentioned. The second description is confusing to me with the mention of the young woman being murdered after, apparently, a botched attempt. Why would the attempt need to be in your brief description?
      Good starts on both them, though.

  25. Dave Clark says:

    Here’s my logline: An academic and precocious young news columnist exposes a vigilante organization that has brought peace and safety to the world. Jealous of her career-making scoop, an underachieving friend acts to kill her.

    • Janet Grant says:

      Dave, the logline ends on a pretty startling statement. Nice hook. I’m assuming the woman is a journalist rather than a columnist, since columnists tend not to get news scoops but instead offer their opinions on news.

      • Dave Clark says:

        She is indeed a columnist, which adds to some of the mystery behind what her career path is doing as well as how and why she gets this scoop. If things were predictable and linear in this, I’d feel I failed to do my job.

  26. Big congratulations for making Bryan Hutchinson’s 2015 list! Love this site and so glad to have found it! 🙂

  27. GWTW: Spoiled, beautiful Scarlett O’Hara faces down the ruin of her Antebellum culture with grit, hard work, lying, and cheating. Will she ever learn what love is?

    My WIP: Orphaned Will spends his entire life and meager earnings at a 1960’s munitions factory, seeking his lost sister, Molly, only to find her at the end of a shotgun barrel.

    • Janet Grant says:

      Katharine, I like the fun list of Scarlett’s character traits.
      I’m a little confused about your WIP concept. I’m assuming the book takes place in the 1960s, but that’s stated in a confusing way. Does it matter that Will is orphaned to understand the book’s concept? How does the munitions factory connect to his lost sister? As you can see, I’m kind of lost.