OCTOBER 20, 2018


If a story is going to fail, it will first do so at the premise level. Knowing how to create, design, and validate a story idea are essential skills every writer needs in their toolbox. The premise line is the only reliable tool that can tell you, before you start writing, whether or not your story idea will work as a story. The premise line is your canary in the writing coal mine, and when fully mastered can save you time, money, and months of potentially wasted writing time.

In this workshop with author Jeff Lyons, participants will learn what a story premise really is; and how to master the process of premise line development, the essential first step in any novel’s development process. Participants will identify story structure elements of their stories, learn the difference between a story and a situation, learn how to find their high concept, design a premise line, and finally learn how to “test” any story idea to see if it will have legs. Some participants will also get to work one-on-one with Jeff Lyons, in the “hot seat,” and have their stories evaluated right in class. This is always a powerful learning moment for everyone—beginner to advanced—as participants can see, real-time, how effectively the process can support any story.

Topics covered: story development basics, premise line design, short synopsis writing, log line development, and next steps for the development process.


Best Western Seven Seas
411 Hotel Circle South
San Diego 92108
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$25for RWASD Members (paying by Tuesday, October 16th)
$30for Non-RWASD Members (must be over age 18) and member late registration (by noon Friday, October 19th)
$35for ALL at the door

Reserve a spot at the October 20th meeting:


$25for RWASD Members (paying by Tuesday, October 16th)
$30for Non-RWASD Members (must be over age 18) and member late registration (by noon Friday, October 19th)
$35for ALL at the door
Please also contact the RWA San Diego Chapter Meeting Coordinator ( if you’re paying by check, your name doesn’t match the name on your paypal account, or you have questions. Otherwise, simply pay by PayPal with the link near the bottom of the page.
Checks should be mailed to:

RWASD Chapter Meeting Coordinator

P O Box 711677
Santee, CA 92072-1677
Please make checks payable to RWASD. Checks are subject to our check return policy.

Member Discount Deadline:
Reservations and payments must be received by the Tuesday before the meeting, that is:
Tuesday, October 16th
*Members who fail to register by the due date will be charged at the Non-Member rate.

Refund policy:
Refunds for meeting registration are given until the Tuesday deadline. After that time, they are nonrefundable. Meeting fees are nontransferable.

Members pay here ($25):

Members (registering AFTER deadline) and Non-Members pay here ($30):

Jeff Lyons

Jeff Lyons is a published fiction/nonfiction author, screenwriter, and story development consultant in the film, television, and publishing industries. He has worked with major studios like NBCU and Columbia Pictures, and leading independent producers and film and television production companies. He is an instructor through Stanford University’s Online Certificate Program in Novel Writing, and guest lectures through the UCLA Extension Writers Program. Jeff is a regular contributor and advisor to leading entertainment industry screenwriting and producing fellowship programs, such as the Producers Guild of America’s “Power of Diversity Master Producers Workshop,” and the Film Independent Screenwriting Lab, and is a regular workshop presenter at leading writing industry conferences such as StoryExpo, Great American Pitchfest, and many others. His clients have won major literary prizes like the “William Faulkner Gold Medal,” and include New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors. Jeff has written on the craft of storytelling for Writer’s Digest Magazine, Script Magazine, The Writer Magazine, and Writing Magazine (UK). His book, Anatomy of a Premise Line: How to Master Premise and Story Development for Writing Success was published by Focal Press in 2015, and his new book, Rapid Story Development: How to Use the Enneagram-Story Connection to Become a Master Storyteller, will be published by Focal Press in late 2019.

Meeting Agenda:

9:30 to 10:00 Check In - Networking (coffee and tea)
10:00 Welcome - Introductions & Announcements
10:15 Morning Session
12:00 Lunch (see menu)
1:00 Chapter Business Meeting
1:30 Afternoon Session
3:00 Meeting Adjourned