The Premise / Theme

By Kristen
Updated July 28, 2007

What's a Premise

Your premise is your argument, something you want to prove to your audience through your story (but don't be preachy about it). It's usually a moral or philosophy (e.g. Love survives even after death).

The Foundation of Your Plot

Your premise is like a compass. Everything keeps leading toward your premise. If you don't have a premise, your story will start wandering all over the place, and your audience will walk away wondering what the point was of the whole thing. You want your audience to walk away convinced of your philosophy.

How Many Premises

Some stories only have one premise. Such stories are usually short and don't have time to address all the different aspects of each premise.

Sometimes, you'll have multiple premises (most good, complex stories do). Just make sure they work together. In some cases, your multiple premises will actually tie together into a single premise at the end.