Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Self-editing masterclass snapshots – do you have a plot or a premise?

Once again, Roz Morris shares her experience and clears up a common misconception of “apprentice” writers…

Nail Your Novel

guardThis is part of an ongoing series of the smartest questions from my Guardian self-editing masterclass for novelists. Previous posts have discussed how much extra material we might write that never ends up in the book, or handling the disappearance of a key character. The full list is here.

Today I’m looking at another interesting problem, one that might be especially useful if you’re gearing up for NaNoWriMo this year.

Is it a premise or a plot?

plot or premiseA writer in my class told us she’d had a literary agent, who had said: ‘Your problem is that you have a premise but not a plot.’

So what might that mean?

A premise is a situation that seems full of promise. (Like these little clay fellas in the picture here.) But many writers think a premise is enough. It’s not. A premise is static. It’s a still life. (Like these little…

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2 responses to “Self-editing masterclass snapshots – do you have a plot or a premise?

  1. Roz Morris @Roz_Morris March 8, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    Once again indebted to you Mr Zoltai.


    • Alexander M Zoltai March 8, 2016 at 7:00 pm



      I think I was indebted to you first :-)


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