The idea of high concept has been around a while. It makes us sit up and take notice.
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I have to admit this definition doesn’t do it for me. It’s much too broad. A few years ago I wrote up a post on high concept, and I actually had a hard time researching the topic. Not a lot of information was out there on what it really meant to write something “high concept”.
But lately high concept has become a buzz word and although I’ve done more research no one can come to a decision on what it really means.
I actually am writing this post to say that high concept is something much more complex than the definition “Popular Appeal”.
I truly believe that high concept idea has to be as basic a plot as there is but also be as unique as the writer who has created it.
Important Point #1: Basic plot
Basic plot does not mean boring. The idea of plot is that it be as straight forward as it can be. Grab a copy of Chris Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey,or Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat both are brilliant at demonstrating the very basics of plot construction.
Think of Star Wars. Follow this link and scroll down to the storyline portion of the page. You’ll see how easily condensed the plot is. When creating high concept, your plot MUST be able to be condensed into a single sentence that tells it all. And don’t use shortcuts “It’s like Frozen, meets Godzilla.” That’s cheating.
A great device I use to create that single sentence synopsis is taken from Debra Dixion’s book on GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict, also an excellent resource.
This sentence needs to have Who=Character, What=goal, Why=motivation, Why not=conflict.
Here is the framework of your synopsis sentence:
A character wants a goal because he is motivated, but he faces conflict.
Want some help? Comment below!