I'm working on the premise for my new book and in a book I'm reading about outlining, it suggests that you ask yourself "what if?" so you can create an extensive list of options for your story. Not all the "what ifs" will be good for your story, mind you, but in order to cover all the bases, you are instructed to write them all down. Then, you can eliminate the extraneous one that don't work.
My working premise, so far:
Ari, an unhappy apprentice, attempts to solve the riddle of a puzzle box he finds in the ruins of Chaldea, and is faced with the challenge of magic gone awry.
My what ifs, so far:
- What if puzzle box can't be opened?
- What if Ari sells the box to a magician, who opens the box and falls under the spell of what's inside?
- What if Ari opens box?
- What if Ari and his friends fight with what's inside, but lose?
- What if what's inside begins to haunt the land and Ari must stop it from destroying Chaldea.
- What if Ari likes what's inside and joins forces with it?
- What if Ari's enemy makes him trade the puzzle box for his sister's hand in marriage (Ari is in love with her)?
- What if Ari's enemy opens the box and falls in league with it?
- What is Ari goes to King with Puzzle box and offers it to him as a pledge?
- What if King opens box and causes havoc throughout kingdom?
How do you create your premise and decide where its going? Do you do an outline? Or do you write by the seat of your pants?