If high concept were a person it would be a teenager because it's often totally misunderstood. If high concept were a tool it would be a sledgehammer. If high concept were a okay I'll stop now.Read the whole thing. I'd add that high concept also elicits the most sneers from critics and highbrow readers. (Bransford alludes to that Samuel L. Jackson movie whose title we will not mention here.) Often that's for good reason: High concept can come off feeling pretty, well, low. It doesn't have to, though. Such shorthand may help we genre writers get a handle on plot and setting, but if we're doing our job, we're ultimately writing about universal human experience, weighty things of life that transcend any easy categorization.
So what does high concept mean?
High concept means that a novel/movie/TV show's plot can be described very succinctly in appealing fashion.
Kid wins a golden ticket to a mysterious candy factory? High concept.
Wizard school? High concept.
There's this guy who walks around Dublin for a day and thinks about a lot of things in chapters written in different styles and he goes to a funeral and does some other stuff but otherwise not much happens? Not high concept.
(Picture: CC 2009 by ViaMoi)