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  1. #1
    Canni
    Guest

    what does high-concept mean?

    I keep reading about "high-concept" fiction and non-fiction. The examples given always seem to be counterintuitive to what I think the phrase should mean.

    So what the hell does it mean? Anyone?



  2. #2
    Trisha
    Guest

    Re: what does high-concept mean?

    Canni,

    High Concept has 4 key elements:

    1. A great title
    2. A fascinating subject
    3. Appeals to a very broad audience
    4. A very strong hook

    In addition, the story is described in a short, simple sentence.

    Sounds strange because I originally though High Concept meant complex, but in fact, it translates to strong and vivid and clearly conveyed in one statement.

    -Trisha

  3. #3
    Canni
    Guest

    Re: what does high-concept mean?

    1) Is there any information on how to 'hone' a book or book proposal to make it "high concept"?

    2) Does high-concept also mean light non-fiction as opposed to serious non-fiction?

    3) Can anyone cite examples of high concept non fiction?

    Thanks!!!

  4. #4
    Greg
    Guest

    Re: what does high-concept mean?

    1) Honing a book to make it high concept is a bit like trying to hone a log house to make it look like a Cape Cod. Honing just the proposal to make it high concept would be like putting a picture of another house entirely in the real estate ad.

    3) If you're interested in high concept fiction, read Albert Zuckerman's Book, Writing the Blockbuster Novel.

    I'm not sure what you're really looking for, but caution you not to get too carried away with the idea of High Concept if it's not what you've written. What it is not is a label that can be slapped on a manuscript after the fact that will make it more attractive to an agent, publisher or the reading public.

  5. #5
    Canni
    Guest

    Re: what does high-concept mean?

    I'm not interested in high-concept fiction, I'm interested in figuring out what high-concept non-fiction is.

  6. #6
    Brittie
    Guest

    Re: what does high-concept mean?

    Since there aren't alot of answers rolling in, in the documentary film world high concept would be far-reaching, ambitious, 'blue chip' ie set the agenda for that particular subject for the decade to come. 'Guns Germs and Steel,' I imagine is a high concept nonfiction book (but again, I'm not from the book world). I don't think Alice Sebold's nonfiction book 'Lucky' is high concept, but it's a riveting, well told story. I think Jon Krakauer's 'Into Thin Air' is possibly high concept after the fact, since it revealed aspects of the climbing world in a way that shook it up. Any other ideas?

  7. #7
    Trisha
    Guest

    Re: what does high-concept mean?

    Hi again, Canni -

    Examples:

    War of the Roses - The classic story of a nasty divorce.

    Jaws - A small town is terrorized by a giant shark during the peak of tourist season.

    Die Hard - Cop trapped at the top of an isolated office building when
    terrorists take over a corporation party that includes his wife, hides and fights them.

    Jurassic Park - DNA-engineered dinosaurs created for an island theme park get loose and start eating people.

    All high concept novels before they were movies. Romeo & Juliet and Sleepless in Seattle are also HC.

    -Trisha

  8. #8
    Trisha
    Guest

    Re: what does high-concept mean?

    Oh - sorry, high concept NON-fiction. Okay, right of the top, Apollo 13, Midnight Express, I think Selena was a book first. Ellen Brockovich (sp).

  9. #9
    Canni
    Guest

    Re: what does high-concept mean?

    Thanks. Y'all're a tremendous help, indeed.

    Okay. So what I'm gathering is that my proposal IS for something approaching a high concept non-fiction book, which may be why it's been so difficult for me to narrow my demographic in the marketing section. (I've come up with educated readers 21-45)

    Maybe I shouldn't worry about it too much.

    I have certainly been worrying about nothing BUT this proposal for weeks now.

  10. #10
    Trisha
    Guest

    Re: what does high-concept mean?

    Yes, Canni - high concept has broad appeal so pin pointing demographs isn't easy, but in this case, it's a plus.

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