For a newbie like myself, these can seem bewildering concepts which are only relevant to screenwriters and of no value to fiction writers.
What do you say when someone who is genuinely interested in you works asks the killer question ‘What’s the Story about?’ and 10 minutes later you are still giving him the backstory about the villian’s demonic mother in the Ukraine, and your potential agent/publisher/friend is desperately signalling to a colleague to find an excuse to get away from you.
Why? What do I need to know BEFORE I can create a compelling, and hopefully High Concept Compass Logline/Story Line for my latest bestseller?
Because you are boring, rambling, and worse, you have not answered the question.
Or, even worse, you are just getting into your stride on all of the research you completed on the causes of the Franco=Prussian War and – wait for it – there is no story because you are still looking for characters who can postulate your theory.
And in doing so you have just demonstrated that you are anything else EXCEPT a professional author.
AHHH! Career alert!
So. What is your Story About?
To me, I have to be able to give a simple answer like this –
My story is about someone [ your protagonist]….who strives for [goal]… and this stands in his way [ forces of opposition and antagonism].
WHO she is, WHAT she wants, and WHAT she is going to have to overcome to get it.