The first step toward developing a high-concept story is: know your audience. This means understanding what is called in the marketing business your “demographic.” Now, someone here is writing an erotic, noir, sci-fi feature. OK, it sounds really good, but it may have a limited audience, because people who like erotica rarely like sci-fi. Right? So it’s hard to put those things together.
This is where it helps to get specific. You see, there are lots of guys who like animated stuff with women in skimpy clothing, but there are not that many sci-fi fans who want to see people making love on another planet. It’s a whole different vibe. I’m not at all saying to compromise your work, but you need to know who would appreciate it and to make your story decisions accordingly.
In other words, to make something commercially viable, you need to be willing to see what’s there, not what you’d like to be there.
It’s probably a safe bet that you’re writing what you’d like to see, so your audience is likely an alternative version of you. But if you want to reach a wider audience—people, say, outside your living room—then you may have to change your story in a way that makes it more universal. Because: the more universal, the more marketable.
This is where an agent or producer can be a wonderful partner. It’s their job to “feel” the material and gauge how it can be made more universal. In general, I don’t recommend writing in partnership, and certainly only when both writers provide an equal share of the workload. A good agent or producer, however, can give you just the perspective you may need to get you out of your comfort zone and give your story broader audience appeal.