In works of fictionary literature, a high concept is a lofty statement of purpose which succinctly summarizes the very essence of a story. In general terms, the relative highness (and brevity) of the concept is a fairly good indication of the compelling emotional urgency of the overwhelming bulk of what would otherwise be a dreadfully tedious narrative; and, in an emergency, can actually be substituted for the bulk content itself with little or no loss of meaningful information.
Pre-21st century boredom!
In the olden times, up until the 20th century, fictional books and/or fictional television programs were written and/or produced with little and/or no regard to the highness of conceptualization. The novelists and screenwriters of that primitive era simply churned out thousands and thousands of closely-hand-typed pages chock full of intricately interwoven plot lines which meandered all over the place, causing rampant confusion as to overall plot and characterizations. Even the very titles of the books themselves were so long that they went on for several hundred words.
This incredibly boring state of affairs was mostly tolerated up to the intervention of teh Internets, when, for entirely unknown reasons, the collective attention spans of all humanity plummeted to record lows. Global warming was, as usual, immediately implicated as the primary cause, but was later ruled out due to its proven nonexistence.
Friendly aliens save Earth's literature from extinction!
Finally, in 2003, Earth's overwhelmingly awful literature was saved at the last minute when SETI finally detected and decoded an extraterrestrial message which, said, in total, "MORE SCIFI PLEASE OR WE WILL EAT YOUR PLANET". This simple gesture of goodwill on behalf of the friendly aliens spurred the panicky production of scads of streamlined literary and subliterary productions, all of which could readily be compressed into tiny snippets of prose, much like a haiku or something.
Format of the High concept!
Every sufficiently-high concept may be semantically reduced to one (1) of a small handful of canonically-recognized formats, such as
- "Noun verbs Noun!",
- "Nouns verb Noun!",
- "Nouns on a Noun!"
or the ever-popular
- "Adjective Nouns from Planetname!".
The closer the actual story conforms to the high concept, the more popular and profitable the work becomes. In the ideal case, it even becomes entirely unnecessary for the average consumer to pay any attention whatsoever to the minor details of the story itself, as the very highness of the concept overrides all other intruding thought processes, such as the unfortuitous noticing of gaping holes in either continuity or logic.