Whatever your chosen premise, that fundamental idea that drives the plot, is there something fresh or unique about it, and does it capture one’s attention?

A lonely, newly retired patent clerk packs up his car and sets out to visit the man who created his favorite toy when he was a kid…the slinky.

No doubt, this isn’t the best idea I’ve ever thought of, but I’m fairly certain it fulfills “unique.”  At least I can’t remember a film involving a meek, mild-mannered pencil pusher so enthralled with a simple toy that he’d drive hundreds of miles to talk to the inventor.

And hopefully that would be enough to make one wonder and ask questions.

Does this guy have all his marbles?

Why is he so obsessed with this toy?

Is there another story behind this obsession?

What’s he going to encounter along the way to his final destination?

Will he make it?

Will he be disappointed in what he finds when he gets there?

If you’ve got them asking questions about the premise, you’ve fulfilled “capturing attention.”

And the genre — have you decided upon which it is?

If you want your story to have a better chance in the tough marketplace, or the very competitive screenplay contest circuit, it would be a good idea to find out what genres have been doing well at the box office, because the bottom line is movies, like any other business, are made to make their investors money.

Hence it’s much more difficult to generate industry interest if your chosen genre isn’t drawing in the crowds.

According to several sites that keep tabs on box office receipts, from 1995 to the present, the following genres have been and still are generating good box office receipts.  From number one on the list the highest grossing, to number ten, the lowest:

1. Comedies

2. Adventures

3. Action

4. Dramas

5. Thriller/Suspense

6. Romantic Comedies

7. Horror

8. Musicals

9. Documentaries

and finally

10. Black Comedies.

So the idea would be to take your premise and write the plot in the genre (or combination thereof) that best suits your interest and writing talent and style.

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