1. Kessie says:

    I’ve been reading about how high concept is what sells, no matter the genre. Harry Potter was popular because it was about school. Everybody can relate to school. It’s high concept. School, first love, parents, bullies, food, laundry, heartache, feeling like an outcast–that’s all high concept that everybody can relate to. Stan Lee has this down to a science. Think of X-men. A group of outcast young people who get superpowers at puberty. High concept! We’ve all felt that way.

  2. I’ve been reading some truly excellent Christian epic fantasy recently. I’m working on a trilogy. Will mine become genre changing? I doubt it. But it might, it is unique. All I know is that I believe the Lord wants me to write it. The results are up to Him. I can only do it if He anoints me, and it’s fun ride.

  3. Totally vouch for the “what if?” method. 

  4. Gabe Miller says:

    Good stuff.  🙂

  5. Michelle says:

    “There is nothing new under the sun”  Ecclesiastes 1:9

    Just a little counter point here for Wayne Thomas Batson’s  thoroughly cool  tips, that I hope will take away any pressure to write something “new” which might make writers like myself, choke up and not write at all.

    There are between 30-40 plots that exist in the storyteller’s library.  

    Let me say that again, there are no new plots, only new twists on  the old standbys. 

    To that,  a writer can add roughly  12 master character archetypes, and 3 different narrative points of view (first person, second person, third person)*.

    So that means every writer has in their recipe/story box the same ingredients:

    30-40 plots
    12 character archetypes
    3 narrative voices

     These are the same ingredients  that ever storyteller has had to work with since one person sat down at a fire and said to the others “A long time ago in place quite like this one…”  And yet from that moment until now, people have been telling stories.  And not the same story either. 

    So how can a writer come up with something exciting?

    There’s one piece which is different in each story, and that is the  tale-teller.

    We each get the same ingredients; plot, character, and  narrative voice. It is our unique perspective and experience that makes the stories different. It’s the writers choices of how much of each item, and which of each item to use that makes the story memorable.
    The writer is the secret ingredient, the piece that makes the story a different flavor than the others.   This is true, even within a genre.

    Here’s an example:

    Dream Treaders by Wayne Thomas Batson
    Wake by Lisa McMann
    Gossamer by Lois Lowry (author of The Giver)
    Dream Hunter by Elizabeth Knox

    All of the above books are about people who can enter/manipulate/use dreams to get to another country.  All of them are different, because of their writer took the ingredients and shifted them around in a unique way to come up with their own tale.

    So be bold! Be daring! Study your ingredients and offer your stories to the rest of us, we can’t WAIT to taste what you’ve “dreamed” up.

    * Omniscient Narration is a type of third person and there are other types of third person as well that I’m not listing here. 

  6. Hello Wayne,
    Excellent discussion!  I set out to write Christian fantasy for tweens, having already had a six book kids’ fiction series published.  I knew very well my latest work needed to be fresh,  since I wanted the project to go book-to-film.  I’m also a screenwriter. 
    My corner of Hollywood was watching.  I applied all of the brainstorming techniques that film pros use to make the next blockbuster.  But since when is human effort ever enough?  I brought my need to the LORD, as specific as prayer can get: “Lord Jesus, will You give me this new idea?  Make it a grabber, please?”
    I’d been looking at angels, but you can’t have an angel protagonist no matter what TV has done with them.   Real angels don’t have angst!  They know what they’re about!
    But as I prayed, the LORD gave me two words: “The Nephilim.”
    His idea hit so hard that I went face down on the kitchen floor in worship.  You want a “what if?”  What if the genes of the Nephilim–those “heroes of old” born of angels and women–resurfaced in a few young teens of today?  (Genesis 6 & Numbers 13).
    My novel Children of Angels,  Winepress Publishing, has won the Gold Medal in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards Young Adult/Religion/Spirituality category and Honorable Mention in the Hollywood Book Festival Spirituality category.   To the praise of His glory! 
    New ideas can also generate controversy, and I’ve taken heat for the fantasy premise that Nephilim DNA is angelic rather than demonic, as many Christians insist that is was.  I shrug and smile, heft all criticism over to the Lord in praise, and gently remind my few critics that my story is, after all, make-believe.   (And, um, the Nephilim are described as “heroes of old, men of renown” in Genesis.  I respect archaeologists and ancient language experts, but still, there it is, as the English say.)
    My point, and you as much as said this, Wayne, so I’m just reiterating: if you want a fresh idea, seek hard after the giver of all good gifts, whose creativity is unimaginable and who delights to give good things to His children.  (James 1:17; Matthew 7:9-11)
    Kathryn Dahlstrom

What do you think?