A Premise Without a Plot

by | Jun 23, 2022 | My Author Scrapheap | 0 comments

I have ideas in my scrapheap that aren’t exactly the worst notions in the world. In fact, some of them might turn into something great someday–but probably for someone else. Because the problem with ideas is that ideas aren’t stories. A book that’s just a bunch of ideas is called a manifesto, and that’s not exactly the kind of thing I write.

The idea I’m talking about today is Potion Man.

If the name sounds basic, that’s because it matches the premise. Potion Man is a series based on an alchemist, in the vein of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Rather than have a system of magic, it would have a system of pseudo-science all revolving around chemistry.

Where was I going with this?

I wasn’t. That’s the problem.

I never found this premise compelling enough to come up with characters and a conflict that needed to be told in this universe. I have playgrounds and sandboxes to explore so many ideas already that this one never cried out for its own cast of characters and series of books.

One part of maturing as a writer is understanding the amount of work involved in creating a new series. Before I commit to hundreds of hours of work for a first book and years to turning it into a complete series, an idea has to blow me away.

It has to intrude on my thoughts

It has to plead for escape onto the page.

Among the many reasons I started writing was to get the random stories careening in my head organized and codified and out of the way to make room for new ones! If an idea can’t even compete for attention with the random flotsam in my brain, what chance does it have in the publishing marketplace?

And so, Potion Man, you stubby little bookmark of a notion, you are consigned to the scrapheap for the foreseeable future.

There is nothing so unique about Potion Man that it isn’t remotely copyrighted. If you have thoughts on how to turn this into a story, don’t send them my way; just write your own!

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