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20 May 2015 @ 05:48 pm
Logline  
 I'm reading this awesome writing book called Save the Cat, and it's changing the whole way I approach structuring novels. I have been restructuring Nemesis, and I think this is possibly the best thing to happen to my writing in some time. 

Anyway, one of the steps is coming up with a logline for your book. This is a one line summary that identifies your protagonist, and what they must overcome, and it should contain a sense of irony and emotional impact. A sample one for the movie Die Hard goes like this:

A street-wise cop comes to L.A. to visit his estranged wife, only to find her office building taken over by terrorists.

An enhanced, more detailed logline would be something like: On the brink of a divorce, a bullheaded, street-wise, New York cop is trapped in his wife’s office building by terrorists, and teams up with an L.A. “desk cop” to stop them; but when his taunts of the terrorists risks exposing his hostage wife’s identity, he must learn to adapt and change to outsmart the lead terrorist and prevent the true goal of a billion-dollar heist.


Here is what I have come up with for Nemesis:

A galactic courier with the outlawed gift of telepathy is searching for the mother she lost fifteen years ago, when she is kidnapped by pirates - the family who tried to kill her as a child, but now need her to embrace her gifts if any of them are to survive. 


What do you think? Would you be intrigued and want to read that book? Yes or no. All feedback is appreciated. Any suggestions for tweaking it further?

ETA: (new version)

A resourceful space pilot with a troublesome telepathic gift is searching for the mother she lost fifteen years ago, when she is kidnapped by pirates outlawed by the government for their own psychic abilities; but when she discovers her kidnappers are also the family who once tried to kill her as a child, she realizes the mystery of her mother’s disappearance holds deadlier secrets than she knew, and she must embrace her gifts if any of them are to survive. 


Cross-posted from Dreamwidth - there are comment count unavailable comments there. Comments welcome on either post.
 
 
 
Stephstephdub on May 21st, 2015 02:57 am (UTC)
It sounds awesome! I would definitely read it. :)
rhienellethrhienelleth on May 21st, 2015 03:19 am (UTC)
Thanks! :)
Queen of the Skiesqueenoftheskies on May 21st, 2015 03:05 am (UTC)
I was fortunate to take a screenwriting class with the gentleman who wrote that book before he died. Good experience.

I hear that some literary agents like loglines and some don't, but you can generally learn the ones who don't fairly easily.

I think the second half of the logline needs to be clarified a bit.
rhienellethrhienelleth on May 21st, 2015 03:24 am (UTC)
Wow, that is really awesome! I wouldn't hesitate to take a class with him, given the opportunity. (I understand he is no longer with us, and learning this made me very sad. He is so vibrant on the pages of his book.) I love his voice and pretty much everything he says in his books.

I'm not doing the logline as a pitch - I already have an agent, so hopefully that won't be necessary! :) Anyway, I'm doing it as an exercise. He really emphasizes that the ability to boil your book/script down to that one engaging line is a good indication of how awesome your story is (my words, not his).

I agree. It just doesn't read right to me, but this is the twentieth or so iteration, and I just reached a point where new versions sounded worse, not better. I thought it sharing it and getting feedback might give me a fresh perspective.
rhienellethrhienelleth on May 21st, 2015 03:45 am (UTC)
Okay, I posted another version up top. I think it is more clear. What do you think?
Queen of the Skiesqueenoftheskies on May 21st, 2015 04:05 am (UTC)
If you were doing this for a screenplay, I'd say it was a little too long, but since you're not... :)

The one thing I still wonder is why she has to embrace her gifts if any of them are to survive.

Though I think this version gives a better idea of the story, definitely.
rhienellethrhienelleth on May 21st, 2015 04:25 am (UTC)
Ok, cool. I'll tinker some more, see if I can make the last part more clear without adding yet more wordiness to it.
xlanaxlana on May 21st, 2015 04:09 am (UTC)
I like it and would definitely read it based on that logline.
rhienellethrhienelleth on May 21st, 2015 04:25 am (UTC)
Thanks! :)
L.A.frenchroast on May 21st, 2015 02:33 pm (UTC)
I like the new version a LOT better. It's a bit wordy.

I'd trim it to: "A resourceful space pilot with a troublesome telepathic gift searches for the mother she lost when she is kidnapped by telepathic pirates; when she discovers her kidnappers are family, she realizes her mother's disappearance holds deadly secrets, and she must embrace her gifts if any of them are to survive.

I know the whole "family who tried to kill her" is an important thing, but it's too much info for a logline, and since she survived, it's kind of moot. We don't need to know the specifics of how long ago her mother was lost, either. Also, pirates are generally already outlawed by the government (even if their telepathy is even more outlawed) so I don't think you need that extra part.



Edited at 2015-05-21 02:34 pm (UTC)
rhienellethrhienelleth on May 22nd, 2015 05:53 pm (UTC)
You make excellent points! Thanks. :)
L.A.frenchroast on May 22nd, 2015 07:03 pm (UTC)
And a further tweak--make "when she discovers" into "after she discovers" to prevent the repetition.
"Connoisseurs of Difficulty"kistha on May 21st, 2015 07:18 pm (UTC)
YAY!