My agent told me recently that all novels need to be high concept these days. No longer can a mere coming-of-age novel cut it (i.e, sell it). According to her, high-concept does not mean it must have vampires, fallen angels or other paranormal elements, but it must have a hook and must be about something.
Wait a minute, I assumed all novels need a hook and must be about something!
So I looked up high-concept on Wikipedia: “High concept is an ironic term used to refer to an artistic work that can be easily described by a succinctly stated premise.”
Second hit on google is screenwriter/pitcher Steve Kaire. He gives five rules for creating high-concept:
1. Premise should be original and unique.
2. Story must have mass audience appeal.
3. Has to be story specific.
4. The potential must be obvious.
5. the Pitch (flap copy) should be one to three sentences long.
He also describes Non-High-Concept (phew, it exists) as: “projects that can’t be sold from a pitch because they are execution driven. They have to be read to be appreciated and their appeal isn’t obvious by merely running a logline past someone.”
So my questions are thus:
How do you define “high-concept?”
What do you think of “high-concept” in contrast to “non-high-concept” or “concept?”
And here’s the fun one—what would it take for your current writing project to be “high-concept?”