Loglines…one last time

Authoress Anon held her third (and final) logline crit session this week. I must start by saying that I was very impressed with all of the comments on the loglines. There were many times where I REALLY had to struggle to say something new and I didn’t always succeed. In most cases, the loglines had clearly defined characters, inciting incidents, goal, conflicts and consequences, (BRAVO!).  Having said that, there were still some instances where there were other issues. These included:

1) Focus on the main character: Your logline is about your main character and NO ONE ELSE. All we need to know is their journey. We don’t need anyone else’s names and we certainly don’t need their goals.

2) Stay in the present. I don’t just mean the tense (although loglines should always be written in present). What I mean is focus on what happens in the book. We don’t need to know the main character’s back story. Just tell us what is happening to them now, in this book.

3) Who is the antagonist?  The antagonist is the character who creates the conflict. There were instances where the conflict was identified but it wasn’t specific enough to appear like a real conflict. For example:

Bob has to battle evil forces.

This is not a clear conflict.

Bob has to defeat the King of Sweden

This is.

4) Inner goal masked as outer goal – If you identify your main character’s goal as something like, “find strength/decide/choose” then you are probably mistaking the inner goal for the outer goal. As I said before, the outer goal is the tangible thing the main character wants to achieve. Things like “finding strength” are the inner conflicts that prevent them from achieving these goals.

5) New concepts – A logline is not the place for worldbuilding. If you are introducing a concept that is not completely self-evident, use wording so it is. This is not the place to tell us that your main character has to battle Werebits, which happen to be a breed of half-werewolf, half-rabbit that was create by an evil Scientist who want an animal that was vicious but looked, well, as cute as a bunny.

6) Too many goals – I can’t say this again but I will anyway. ONE TANGIBLE OUTER GOAL. Tell us the one thing your main character wants to achieve and leave the rest out. Sure, he might also want to win a medal, get the girl and eat a cookie. That’s fabulous but it doesn’t belong in the logline.

Category: Contests, On Writing