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  • Writer's pictureDan

Evaluating Story Concepts

Morning Clouds, Mt. Rainier  - Copyright Dan
Morning Clouds, Mt. Rainier - Copyright Dan


I just started reading Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey. It’s one of those writing craft books I’ve known about for a number of years, but I’ve never got around to reading; that is until, now. I’m only through the preface, but I’ve already discovered a pearl of writerly wisdom. Hopefully, this bodes well for the rest of the book…

In the preface, Vogler details the questions people at Disney ask when evaluating a story and its characters to ensure mass audience appeal. I think these are good things to think about while evaluating a novel, especially at the concept stage; this is doubly true, I believe, if you want your novel to, as Donald Mass puts it, breakout. So, without further ado, here are the questions:

  • Does the story have a conflict?

  • Does the story have a theme?

  • Can the theme be expressed by a well-known aphorism, such as love conquers all?

  • Do the characters have relevant back stories and plausible motivations?

  • Do the characters experience realistic emotions and growth?

Anyway, I think this is a great list and something I plan to use while evaluating my own work and critiquing others.

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