The smart solution for authors

Spread the word

Subscribe to the BPS Books blog

Your email:

About BPS Books

BPS Books, a successful cooperative book publisher, is the smart solution for authors. Read more about the BPS Books publishing process here.

"Plus one" us!

The BPS Books blog

Become a Better Writer.
Understand the Publishing World.


Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

Manuscript Writing: How to Organize Your Manuscript Using the Premise/Promise Formula

  
  

 

Promise
What are you promising your readers?

 

My wife and I like to watch Law and Order reruns together. Okay, that may be using the word “together” a little loosely. And the word “like,” too.

June rarely makes it to the screen for the very beginning of the program.

“You’re going to miss the premise,” I cry out in editorial anxiety.

Of course, as she well knows, the premise is pretty much always the same: Someone happens upon a dead body and calls the police. When she does finally sit down beside me, she watches for a few minutes and then falls asleep. (Everybody’s a critic.)

Formulaic and predictable though such programs may be, they do point to the importance of a premise and, come to think of it, of a promise, whatever the type of communication. The beginning of an article, a book, a TV program must announce a premise and make a promise. In this way the communication in a sense defines (finds) its audience, engages its audience, and sets up in its audience an expectation, whether of enjoyable entertainment, greater knowledge, a way out of a problem, or a strategy for gain, be it pecuniary, practical, or spiritual.

A good way to learn how to plant these in your writing is to imitate the descriptions of books found in book reviews and ads or on the jacket flaps or back covers of the books themselves.

Consider this from the back cover of the novel Lost Souls by Michael Collins:

“The body of a small girl, dressed as an angel, is discovered late one night in a pile of autumn leaves at the side of the road. At first it looks like a hit and run – after all, it’s Halloween night and the streets have been full of children trick-or-treating. But how did a three-year-old come to be out at such a late hour?

Lawrence, the policeman sent to investigate, is under increasing pressure when it becomes clear that the chief suspect is the town’s star quarterback. In the ensuing cover-up, Lawrence finds himself a pawn in the power games between the local major, the suspect’s family, and an investigator with personal scores to settle.”

The premise is intriguing. The promise of an enjoyable read and of the type of read is clear. The blurb gives you everything you need in order to grasp what kind of book it is you have in your hand. The book then simply has to deliver on its premise and promise. Of course, this is not so simple to do, but that’s another story.

What about non-fiction? Consider Robert Webber’s book, Common Roots: A Call to Evangelical Maturity. The title itself signals the premise and promise of the book. The very beginning of the Preface is crystal clear in signaling these to the reader:

“The purpose of Common Rootsis twofold. The primary concern is, as the title suggests, to search for the roots of evangelical Christianity. The secondary concern, and one which naturally arises out of the first, is to look critically at those beliefs and practices of contemporary evangelicalism which are out of harmony with historic Christianity. Thus the subtitle A Call to Evangelical Maturity.”

My advice, whether you are about to embark on writing a book or are in the middle of doing so, is that you practice writing a blurb as if your book had already been published. This exercise may cause you to rethink the setup of your book. It may help you come up with a better outline. It may give you the push you need to finish your book.

When it comes time to submit your manuscript, for instance to a book editor, consider that editors are only human. Even the most cynical among them can be lured into reading manuscripts that hit them with a compelling premise and promise. And if the writing delivers on the promise, they may just keep on reading. The same is true of readers. They’re only human, too!

Donald G. BastianDB

Bookmark and Share

Comments

A of the many things that can come first in our minds when we say that the style of fashion sunglasses for women. Women because, for one thing, the style of fashion is sometimes complicated, since women are known for. Mode involves a combination of emotion, attitude, and the idea oakley oil rig sunglasses of ??defining a clear sense of style. A woman on the other hand, is expressed as the more ambiguous? a man repeatedly does. And so it is especially and often women who are victims of fashion. The company can not blame them for any fa? It to be. It was for centuries at a time when oakley dispatch sunglasses women's voices were suppressed. They were considered inferior to the character and ability, but the world has changed. Women have become powerful men can be. They flooded the kingdom where only men had thrived on before. Consequently, when the idea of ??fashion began to materiali oakley m frame sunglasses ze, they have found a way to express themselves as freely beautiful as they could. Women became the most versatile in the transmission of art. They have become the subject of painters, the subject of artists and fashion designers. Women developed the go? T for her as they were oakley gascan sunglasses born with the instinct for style. They learned to dig for it and can be very meticulous and picky about their appearance. Thus, they examine their appearance from head to toe. Even a simple pair of sunglasses, Oakley Sunglasses, cheap as can be so much trouble the eye bright to match cheap oakley goggles the mood or they have held. Details, color, and the call are the features that they look carefully for just a pair of sunglasses wholesale wife. Those issues become expensive sunglasses have always been the priority that women are looking for them. Otherwise, the world of fashion oakley flak jacket sunglasses sunglasses wholesale also emerged to offer a range of different styles, but for a low price to match the woman looks at all the choices and help them save money, like what the collections of many wholesalers online are women with different styles and attitudes. Women can choose customers oakley radar sunglasses chic and stylish look to the fashion and glamor. There are also outgoing ladies who go to sporting chic styles that match the request of the occasion. All styles at the same time providing them with CAP and the attitude they want to exude. oakley frogskin glasses 
 
Posted @ Monday, August 01, 2011 9:37 PM by ASDFAS
Post Comment
Name
 *
Email
 *
Website (optional)
Comment
 *

Allowed tags: <a> link, <b> bold, <i> italics