Rerun: What does “high concept fiction” mean?

I’ve noticed in my research of literary agents that many are looking for “high concept” children’s and young adult books.  That’s all well and good, except  our dear agent friends don’t do so well defining that term. When I think “high concept” I think: complex, detailed storyline, something that takes more than a sentence to define.

That is, apparently, wrong.

High concept fiction is, in fact, a storyline that is described very succinctly and in an appealing fashion.

Firefly, for instance, is a high concept show: the wild west meets outer space. Space western!

You could also describe a love story set on an alien world as “Romeo and Juliet in space,” and that would be a high concept story.

If I were an agent, the only thing you’d need to say was “in space” and I’d be on board, if my examples were anything to go by. Anyway.

You can find more examples and definitions here and here.

Meanwhile, I’ll be attempting to come up with a way to shove my children’s book peg into the high concept hole.

…that didn’t come out right.


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