Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Premise and Publish

by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

This cycle at GBC, we're talking about where our premises come from and the changes in the publishing climate. Being the Type A personality I am, I figured I'd tackle both.

"Where do your ideas come from?" is one of the most frequent questions writers get asked. My typical answer is: The Idea Fairy. Seriously, though, my ideas come from everywhere: from things that happen to and around me, from the news, from things that happen to other people. Something happens and lightning strikes in the form of: "I think there's a whole novel in that!"

A few examples:

- My debut adult novel, The Thin Pink Line, 22 books ago. Finding myself pregnant after 10 married years in which I never thought I'd be pregnant, rather than writing the predictable story that you'd think would result - married woman finding herself pregnant after 10 years and what ensues, told in an earnest fashion - my crazy mind said: "I know! I'll write a dark comedy about a sociopath who fakes an entire pregancy!"

- My most recent YA novel, Little Women and Me. My daughter and her best friend had just read the original Louisa May Alcott novel and we were discussing what they thought of it. What they thought lined up with my own memories of the book: that is was great but that That Thing That Happens To Beth was upsetting and that The Boy Next Door winding up with the wrong March sister was annoying. So I decided to write a novel about a contemporary teen who time travels into the classic novel only to discover that in order to get back out again she'll need to change one of those things.

- The Sisters 8 series for young readers, which I created with my husband and daughter. We came up with the idea for this when we were snowbound in Crested Butte, Colorado, back in December 2006. Well, if you were snowbound for 10 days with no TV, what would you do? You'd probably brainstorm a nine-book series about octuplets whose parents go missing one New Year's Eve!

- Finally, there's The Bro-Magnet, the ebook I released back in December about an ultimate man's man who's been Best Man eight times when what he secretly longs to be is a groom. Here's how that one came about: My husband, Greg Logsted, is a novelist by night and a window washer by day. One day he told me about washing some guy's windows with his crew and how every time he goes to this guy's house, the guy says, "Let's go skiing sometime"; "Let's do this"; "Let's do that." It occurred to me that this was not the first time in the 28 years I've known him that I'd heard something like this: some guy, barely even knowing my husband, wanting to bond and become buddies. This particular instance happened right around the time the word "bromance" entered the lexicon strongly - you'd hear people applying it to TV shows like "House" or films like the Sherlock Holmes version Robert Downey Jr starred in. Suddenly my brain went poof! like it always does when I have an idea for a new book. Those ideas always begin with "What if...?" In this case, it was "What if there was an ultimate man's man, a guy that other guys actually fight over to get him to be Best Man at their weddings, but he secretly longs to be a groom?" And of course the hero of this book would be THE BRO-MAGNET.

So that's where the premises for a few of my books have come from.

As for the current publishing climate, the other day Joe Konrath let me take over the megaphone at his popular blog so I could talk about my experiences with e-publishing and you can find that post here.

So how about you all? Where do your premises come from and what do you think of the new publishing climate?

Be well. Don't forget to write.


  1. Great post, Lauren! So much fun hearing about where all of your book ideas come from!

    I think you said it best. The ideas come from everywhere: something that happens to you, a story you heard that you can't forget....

    As for the publishing climate-- scary!!

  2. Super job on the premise and wrapping it up with publishing climate...congrats on your 22 books...i am in awe!

  3. Great Stuff. Loved the article on Konrath's site. As I've told you before, you're a rock star.

  4. I love what you shared because it reminds me that "high concept" can be synonymous with, "pay attention to your world!"

    Clicking to the Konrath site now.


  5. Loved your Konrath article, too. And I really loved hearing about your premises. Sadly my premise process isn't really worth a blog post. The story of everything I write seems to begin with, "Well, I was on the toilet/in the shower/doing my hair/driving/changing my daughter's diaper..." So not exciting or sexy.

    BTW, picked up THE BRO MAGNET and am looking forward to reading it. Viva, chick lit!

  6. Love the way you put an original twist on things to come up with a story. WG2E post was educational; Konrath interview funny.

    Gotta read Little Women and Me. Although that remains one of my all-time favorite reads, I thought I was the only one who felt those two things.

  7. Just read Little Women and Me and FINALLY felt some closure. I could never handle the fact that the wrong March sister ended up with Laurie. Loved your book!