Narrowing Your Focus: Why This Book? (Premise of your Book)

Check out this video from my writing bootcamp about finding the “why,” the premise of your book. You can find the transcript below.

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More videos from this writing bootcamp:

Question mark on a chalkboard. Narrowing your focus: Why this Book?

Video Transcript

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to day two of our Writing Bootcamp. I am back from Phoenix and back into the swing of things. I’m parked in a parking lot right now because that’s how these things roll. Sometimes, I was just thinking a minute ago that I think everything this week is going to be in a different location.
It’s just one of those weeks. And isn’t that the wonderful thing about technology? Right? We can still be in contact no matter what in life is going on and what we’re doing. So thanks for joining me. Thank you everyone who responded yesterday. I appreciate your willingness to share with us your “why.” There’s some just really powerful thing about people that is their motivation.
And I love reading about that. I think we all have such powerful reasons for wanting to do what we do. And sometimes we often think that we’re all alone in that. And so when we share that with each other, we can encourage each other on the journey and be encouraged ourselves. So, thank you for sharing that.

So yesterday we talked about the why of why we are. (I don’t know if the connection is, it looks like it’s coming and going, so we’ll see what happens. Sorry about that.) Anyhow, don’t make a big deal, it doesn’t have to be a big complex thing, but if you could share today, the premise of your book, the why of your book, what is it you want the reader to take away when they’re finished reading your book?


What is that kind of emotional resonance, that lesson learned? And the reason why it’s important. To think about that does help create a target for you as you’re writing. So for example, if you are stuck on a scene and you’re not entirely sure, you know, there’s many, many ways you can write things, knowing, what your end goal is, what you want to accomplish, that can help you focus and make sure that you’re writing the scene kind of for that target at the end. It’s a big target, so there’s a lot of ways to get there, but it does help you focus on your writing. One of the biggest problems we have as writers is not too few ideas, but too many.
And when we have so many ideas and so many possibilities, the brain kind of freezes. It kind of says the sky’s the limit. I don’t know which one.

You know, the brain does not do well with limitless options. It needs to be narrowed down to a few of them. And so when you have your target of what your book is about, then that will help the brain, actually be more creative.

It’s more creative when it has fewer options. It has lots of creative ways to handle those options. So don’t feel it as limiting you; think of it as empowering you. So if you would share with us today, the premise of your book, why you’re writing it, what you hope your readers will feel when you’re done writing it.


Again, that’s another thing that just will encourage you. When you get in that messy middle, where you’re slogging through, and you’re wondering, “Why am I writing this? This is difficult. Will anybody care?” Your premise will help you stay on track and say, “Yes, I do have something that’s important to share with people. There’s a thing in here that someone else needs to hear.” Almost always as writers it’s because it’s something we’ve needed to hear ourselves. And so now through our writing, we can share that with others, you know, fiction is incredibly powerful in that way, and you know, non-fiction, of course, we expect to be powerful, right?
Because we expect to have a problem and find it in non-fiction, but, fiction and memoir, both can do the exact same thing by showing us how it looks to have someone walk through a problem and all the difficulties and come out the other side as a stronger person. So share with us today the premise of our book, the takeaway value, what your characters accomplished at the end of the book.
I’m really excited to see what those might be for you today. And I will share mine later. As soon as I get home, I will share it. And I hope that this will record properly and get posted to the page, you know? Yes. Technology allows me to be anywhere and in my car or whatever it might be and share with you guys. But if the connection isn’t good…Okay, so guys, we have problems, right? So hopefully it works out, have a wonderful rest of your day, however much of it may be left depending on where you’re at. It’s just starting here, but we’re on Pacific time. So we’re sort of at the very end of all of that.
I know some people have been having quite long days already, so thank you for joining me. I really appreciate it. And I’m looking forward to hear what you have to say, and I will see you tomorrow at the same time, but I will be in a different place. All right, have a great one. I’ll see you later. Bye.

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