Tuesday, March 22, 2022

The Difference between High & Soft Concept Stories


High concept stories are novels or movies that are packed with action. They have an impactful plot. Their unique stories are their selling point, more than the characters. Their premise is easy to pitch in a few sentences.


I remember I was forced to write a story like this during my final project in college.


Imagine a situation where you have to write a story with a unique bend. That's a high concept story.


Some films and novels that are high concept:

Inception (2010)

Jurassic Park (1993)

Liar Liar (1997)

Groundhog Day (1993)

Pleasantville (1998)

The Auction

The Midnight

The Naturals


A high concept story is what Hollywood producers want. It has a wide audience allure. Can you make your novel or screenplay a high concept one for the Nigerian producers or audience? If you are asking me this question, I imagine you want to write a landmark story, which can sell locally and on the global market. So, my answer to this question is unequivocal, "Yes." You can pack your novel or script with all the elements that must be present in a story for it to be high concept. 


Unlike high concept stories, soft stories are built with great characters rather than action. They have intriguing situations that keep the reader absorbed as the story unfolds. Their authentic dialogues, which are set to accomplish a purpose, set something up, pay it off, and move the story forward is one of the keys to their success. 


You don’t have to frame your story as a high concept. Most of my unpublished novels and scripts are soft stories with a bit of action. In 2008, I entered two of my screenplays in a competition in California. From logline, genre, format, depth of narrative, structure, hook, concept, premise, characterization, dialogue, trend and commercial potential – with a score of (1-10), I had 7.40, 7.5, 7 and 8 over 10. The only thing that made me drop out of the competition was that each stage required lots and lots of money for creative development. The grand prize was $200, 000. 00. There were other attractive wins for the other runner up as well. So, serious investment was required of the participants.


If you want to try your hand at high or soft concept novel writing or screenwriting, study similar works and you'd learn to craft these sorts of stories skillfully.


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