Margo wrote:So, does anyone have any good techniques for improving a high concept idea that may not be as high concept as you'd like?
In my opinion, it is easier to start with a high-concept; it is much harder to bring high-concept into non-high-concept material.
First, what is high-concept? A lot of people get confused. Here are a couple of good links:
http://thedarksalon.blogspot.com/2010/0 ... ncept.html
Basically, my understanding is that a high-concept story is one that involves a grabby (and often gimmicky) hook. The premise is unique and intriguing, and people are drawn to the idea out of curiosity. They premise can be explained succinctly.
The movie Click
: What if you had a remote control that could fast-forward the boring parts of your life?
by Stephen King : what if a rabid dog traps you inside a stalled car
If you tried to insert a high-concept into a low-concept story, you would radically alter it. For example, I suppose a "low-concept" story would be about a teenage girl who is unpopular and wants to go to the prom. The high-concept version is that when the popular kids make fun of her, she gets supernatural powers and wreaks her vengeance, a la Carrie
. (Stephen King definitely is a master of high-concept ideas).
It doesn't have to be supernatural, but supernatural content is one way to make the premise unique. For example, Miss Snark cited The Devil Wears Prada
in the link above. In that case, just taking the villain to extremes helped make it high-concept (this goes with what polymath said, making the story more visceral).