Loglines, Part Deux

Another week, another round of loglines on Authoress Anon’s blog, and I have to say, I was pretty impressed overall. I don’t think I read a single logline without a clearly defined (and described!) main character.  I also found that almost all loglines made the main character’s goals quite clear and most even stated the conflict and the consequences. If I had to point out two things that I noticed a few times, they would be these:

1) Loglines are usually about the main character’s outer goal and the outer goal has to be tangible. Does this mean you can’t write your logline about the inner goal? Not necessarily. But outer goals are the ones that are routed in the concept and that tends to be the unique hook a novel offers. Sure, maybe you can find a way to create a character arc that is totally unique, but I’m willing to guess that it’s going to be pretty hard.

2) Consequences (or stakes) cannot be wishy washey. Take these examples:

a) If Bob doesn’t return the diamond, Gino is going to cut his throat.

b) If Bob doesn’t return the diamond, Gino might cut his throat.

c) If Bob doesn’t return the diamond, Gino might possibly do something really bad to some people.

The point of these examples is to show that A is a rock solid consequence,  B is a possible consequence and C is just something vague that may or may not happen to someone. What you want in a logline is A. Yes, it may be more complicated than that in your book. Doesn’t matter. For the purposes of your logline, you need these consequences to be crystal clear.

3) I said I only had two items but I just thought of a third. Don’t confuse your obstacles with your goal. For example:

I need to make a cake for a birthday party tomorrow.

This is a goal.

I need my husband to get home soon so I can borrow his car to go to the store so I can buy eggs that I need to make a cake for a birthday party tomorrow.

Up until the “need to make a cake” part, what I’ve listed are the obstacles that are going to make my goal more difficult. For the purposes of the logline, we don’t need these.

I’ve just read that Authoress is going to do another round next week. OY! I guess I’ll see you then!

Category: Contests, On Writing