Story Idea vs. Story Concept
Most of us think we have a great story idea, but what we actually have is a story concept.
Let’s say you have a “story idea” about a cat that wants to go to a flea circus (Fernando Learns About Helping). When you sit down to put it on the page, what will you write? All you know is there’s a cat that wants to see a tiny, flea circus. You don’t know anything else, because what you have is not a story idea. It is a story concept.
To keep it simple, let’s use these basic definitions for the remainder of the book:
Story idea/idea - when the beginning, middle, and end of the story are clear.
Story concept/concept - a piece of a potential story; a vignette; a single scene, character, or character attribute.
USING THE SAME EXAMPLE, let’s turn it into a story idea by giving this concept a clear beginning, middle, and end.
Let’s say the cat wants to go to a flea circus, but his friends need help.
Despite wanting to see the circus, he stops to help his friends. This makes him miss the circus, but his friends put together a circus of their own as a thank you/surprise for his help (Fernando Learns About Helping).
The concept and idea are similar, but the difference is the idea has a clear path for the reader to follow.
Consider the difference between the two before you start writing your story, and you’ll hit fewer roadblocks on your writing journey.