THE IDEA: The Seven Elements of a Viable Story for Screen, Stage or Fiction

Why don’t most scripts have the kind of success their writers dream of?

Because of problems with the basic idea for their story. Which the writer is usually unaware of.

While story structure and scene writing choices do need to be top-notch, writers tend to rush into those parts of the writing process too quickly, without vetting their basic concept.

This is a mistake professionals rarely make, because their agents and managers insist that ideas be run past them first. And this usually leads to serious notes and development before the outlining process even starts

Multiple Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning writer/producer Erik Bork (HBO’s Band of Brothers) details the seven key characteristics that professionals recognize in a story premise worth pursuing – across all genres and media.

Published September 2018, The Idea is an Amazon best-seller in 3 categories, with over 65 reviews averaging 5 stars. It was also ranked #3 on ScreenCraft’s “Top 15 Screenwriting Books.”


“Before starting any project, every film or TV writer, whether new or experienced, should read this book. When Erik sent it to me, I was just beginning a new script. This book showed me problems with the idea I didn’t know I had. Better yet, it showed me how to find solutions.”

Graham Yost

Writer/Executive Producer/Showrunner – JUSTIFIED, THE AMERICANS, SPEED


It can be a frustrating mystery navigating the maze of Hollywood or the publishing world – for writers to figure out why they don’t hear back on their ideas and material.

What’s the reason for this? It’s pretty simple: Most ideas that are submitted as a potential movie or TV series (or novel or play) have issues in one or more of these areas, and the writer doesn’t realize it. 

While professional level execution and a strong writer’s voice is important, choice of idea is crucial. And screenwriting books and classes tend to undersell the importance and difficulty of choosing an concept “worth writing” in the first place.  

If a writer knows and understands the seven elements of a workable story idea and makes it their mission to only write projects that strongly exhibit all of them, their chances of success increase exponentially.

So whether you’re developing your first script for a movie, series, novel or play — or you’re a professional — working this way can make a huge difference in how you choose and develop projects, and help you to work from a strong, confident foundation instead of a shaky one.


“Having read over 60,000 screenplays in a twenty-year career, I’ve learned that most scripts are fatally flawed at the idea stage. Too bad the writer didn’t figure it out before investing six months in a screenplay that will never work. This quick and fun book examines the dramatic principles that create a strong idea and is certain to save writers a lot of time and effort. “

Christopher Lockhart

Producer and Story Editor – William Morris Endeavor Agency

From the author: As a screenwriter for three decades, I’ve grappled with the question of why some of my ideas failed to take off while others breezed forward in the marketplace. And as a writing teacher and private coach, I’ve marveled at how 90% of my most important notes on scripts were really about the concept – issues I would have pointed out before the writer started writing, if I’d seen a logline or brief synopsis. How much time, effort and frustration writers could save if they got feedback on their ideas first! Professionals get that from their representatives and other colleagues. With this book, you can discover what those people are looking for, and begin applying it to your writing now.


“Don’t write a word of your next screenplay or novel, and don’t dive into any other books – including mine – until you’ve read Erik Bork’s The Idea. His simple, essential insights will spare you the pain of spending months or years on your project, only to learn that your concept was doomed from the start. Instead, apply his 7 Elements and guarantee your story goes to the top of every reader’s RECOMMEND list.”

Michael Hauge


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