Does Your Story Have a Pulse?

This is a follow up on the Choosing Your Best Concept tip…

Most new and aspiring writers think their story lives and dies by its surface details. I see this all the time in the Superhero space.

“I’ve got this Batman’esque vigilante, but he’s got alien armor! And his parents weren’t killed when he was a kid, they were kidnapped–he’s been looking for them ever since. And he’s in love with a girl in France, but the french government has him on their most wanted list so he can’t legally go there and she can’t travel… and he’s got the coolest laser sword… and… and… and…”

Details ARE important, but they are the superficial side of the story–the real story is what’s going on underneath all that. If you follow the site here you see me constantly talking about theme.

So here’s another check to see if you’re working on a great concept or a weak concept.

Throw away all your lovely details… toss them right out the window with the bath water…

What do you have left?

Is there a story skeleton strong enough to rebuild a new body on?

Can your story work if the vigilante is a veteran who uses small arms and smoke bombs? If he’s in love with the girl across the street? If he doesn’t have that fancy laser sword?

If you change the surface details of the story and the underlying story still doesn’t shine, it means your story doesn’t have a heart.

The glitz, glammer and spectacle can’t carry a story for long–especially if you’re trying to create on ongoing series IP.

*Yes, it’s possible to get that one in a million character or surface detail that’s so amazing, unique and captivating it can carry the story… BUT just think if you wrote that same material on solid story bones… that’s the hit of a lifetime in the making.

Let the shallow stories go, or get back to the drawing board and build out a real skeleton. ▪

About the Author —
Nick Macari is a full-time freelance story consultant, developmental editor and writer, working primarily in the independent gaming and comic markets. His first published comic appeared on shelves via Diamond in the late 90’s. Today you can find his comic work on comixology, amazon and in select stores around the U.S.  Visit for social media contacts and news on his latest releases.

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