High-concept storytelling in Gone 1: Big concept, small beginnings

Big concept, small set up

There. Gone.

The story starts by taking a normal situation, adding a fantastic, sudden event, and finishing with some small details that emphasise how quickly things changed, like it was a trick. 

One minute the teacher was talking about the Civil War. And the next minute he was gone.


No “poof.” No flash of light. No explosion.

GoneMichael GrantSource

There could have been a lot of description here, but it’s described so quickly that your brain has little time to process it - much like the characters’ reaction for the rest of the passage.

Can you find the same pattern in these examples?

The checkout operator was deciding which bag to put the apples into when everything went black.


It was like the power had suddenly gone out but felt oddly different. 

It was an ordinary Sunday afternoon when a full blown tyrannosaurus walked past the kitchen window.

Not a robot.
Not a costume.
A real-life dinosaur.

One minute there was an empty backyard. Then a t-rex, strolling past like it was nobody’s business.

Then the empty backyard again.

It’s time to write your own version. Before you do that, you should plan your event and the setting of your story.

What’s the big event in Gone? (warning: spoilers)
What are the big events in the examples above?
Your turn

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