Saturday, February 28, 2009

I Kid You Not

premise--a dramatic argument which states that a particular incident or situation leads to conflict, the resolution of which makes a story; an outline or idea for an as yet uncompleted narrative.

Borrowing its basics from philosophical logic, dramatic premise argues that a concept or partial chapters will indeed produce not merely a story, not merely a plausible story, but a nuanced and thrilling story. A writer discussing a premise with a literary agent, editor, or other writer usually has not advanced beyond a few opening pages and has yet to discover a throughline or theme, much less a mid point and conclusion.

This is not to belittle or disparage the premise, which is often the way ideas for work come to the writer, rather it is to say that the premise needs to be thought through or written through to a draft, where its potential for metamorphosis into story may be seen and nurtured along the path.

See concept.


jargon--language extending beyond conventional usage to convey hidden or special meanings; terms which openly make fun of gender, race, sexual and social orientation; terms and words used when speakers are confirming a special, insider status.

Jargon is an omnibus word, taking in academic usage,slang, lingo, buzzwords, shop talk, and idiom, representing age, class, and cultural ranges. When used in fiction, jargon is a risky business because of the possibility that it will have gone out of date, dragging the narrative down with it. The other side of that coin is the lengths some writers will reach in order to yank passe words from the vault as a means of presenting a verbal zeitgeist. A reasoned approach is to concentrate on the needs, ambitions, and intent of characters; those qualities will suggest the degree of jargon or lack thereof a particular character uses.

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