What exactly is a High Concept Novel?

Simple but well worth a good read! It’s nice to get thinking about the nature of presentation. I have to admit I’ve never made an effort to learn about ‘high concept’ (I didn’t even know there was such a term!). Somehow this really motivates me to get working on an elevator pitch. “I’m writing… a story…” is a can of worms I really need to stop opening.

Destiny Cole


Okay, so I’ve never really understood this term. I could vaguley give you a description, but Beth Revis on the YA Reddit group I am involved in spelled it out SO perfectly that I have to share here:

What is High Concept?

First, what high concept is not: it’s not “high.” This is the thing that throws people off the most. Most people think that “high concept” means something that’s very literary, artistic, and not commercial—and the exact opposite is true.

High concept is something that has immediate commercial appeal.

Typically, the way this is explained is that:

  • You can sum up a high concept idea in a sentence or two
  • It has obvious appeal to the masses—it’s a concept that most people can get with just a sentence
  • It’s a story that you can immediately see what it would be like just from a short description

High concept is…

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