Ever find yourself wondering the difference between your story’s concept, premise, theme, and plot? At first blush these terms might seem like they all mean the same thing… but in terms of understanding how your story works it’s important to make distinctions.
I’ve been editing a book that helps. It’s called Story Engineering by Larry Brooks (author of of six psychological thrillers including Darkness Bound, Pressure Points, Serpents Dance and others). Brooks’s approach to story architecture hinges on what he calls the “six core competencies” of storytelling: the four elemental competencies of concept, character, theme, and story structure (plot); and the two executional competencies of scene construction and writing voice.
In this excerpt from the book he defines concept as a fiction writing element.