Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for Logline

Logline. Or pitch, hook, short blurb, whatever you want to call it. I dread them. As much as I dread writing a query or synopsis. Alas, it's almost inevitable to avoid en route to publishing and I admit is a great exercise in getting to the meat of your story.

A logline needs to mention your unique main character, inciting incident, conflict, goal, stakes. And don't forget to include a sense of the story, genre, and voice. Usually in one sentence. Yep.

Here is "Take 1" at a logline for my YA dystopian REMAKE:

Nine chooses to become male just three days before her Batch is Remade, hoping it will make her brave. But when her shuttle crashes on the way to the Remake facility, Nine must learn to become brave, as a girl, if she hopes to survive and return in time to be Remade, if that’s what she still wants.

It feels a little vague to me. And wordy. And redundant. Do the words Batch, Remade, Remake just make it confusing? HELP! I am open to any kind of critique in the comments.

Do you enjoy/abhor writing loglines? Feel free to share yours in the comments also. I'd love to read what your current book is about.


A. K. Fotinos-Hoyer said...

I have to admit I'm confused by Batch, Remake and Remade - I feel like I might have a general idea of what you mean, but I'm not sure :/ Is there a way to generalize those terms into something that doesn't require world-building to understand? And also, I'm not sure what those choices/possibilities mean for the MC - what are the stakes? (Hard to convey without being able to world build I know!) Hope this helps :)

Tonja Drecker said...

I hate to say it, but yep, I'm confused. First sentence is okay, but 'remake facility', as a girl, return in time ot remade... it's too much. Cut half of it out (from what I see, you can) leaving it at the basic basics.

These are mean, hard and terrible, and I haven't meant many people who enjoy writing them.
Good luck!

F said...

I think I agree with the previous comments. I understand what your premise is, but somebody else might take one look and have no idea what's going on. Also, I don't like the way you've said 'Nine must learn to be brave, as a girl'. By putting 'as a girl' that way, I feel like you're saying that girls themselves can't be brave. That only boys can be brave. I know that probably wasn't the sentiment you were going for at all (I'm sure your MC becomes incredibly bad-ass, for lack of a better word), but don't give anybody any reason to criticise you or your novel! Perhaps by changing the wording to something less disjointed, like 'she has to learn to be brave by herself' (obviously just a vague example) would sort this out. I really hope this helped!

Karen Baldwin said...

Sounds like a great story. Here's my version of your blurb...

In a time when you can choose your gender, Nine wants to be remade into a boy hoping it will make her brave. But on the way to the Remake Factory, her shuttle crashes. To survive Nine must learn bravery, especially if she wants to return in time to be Remade, if that's still choice she wants to make.

G.M. said...

You might want to rewrite it llike this:

Nine chooses to become male, hoping it will make her brave. But when her shuttle crushes on the way to the Remake facility, she must learn to be brave as a girl. That's her only hope to survive and return on time to be Remade. She must decide if she want to be Remade (because her decision will ....)
Now explain why the decision to be Remade or not is so important, and what are the stakes if she chooses one way or another.
The concept (hook) of people deciding what gender they want to be is unique and interesting. Hopefully you expand on this in your novel. Many readers will like ask themselves .. what if I can go to a Remake facility and change to the opposite sex.
My novel is about Shui Ying from China who dreams to become famous, and she fulfills her dream with the help of Emily from NYC .. but she doesn't know about it and everyone is looking for her. And there's also a romantic love story of her and her sweetheart from the village going on and on all over the novel ..:)

G.M. said...

Oh, I see that Em-Musing wrote already what you should do. Her version is superb!

G.M. said...

Also, I must agree with Fiona. Implying that girls are less brave than boys is not good, especially after so many girls know about Katniss from the Hunger Games. Yu want girls reading yournovel to be happy about being girls.
You might want to say that Nine is just curious to find out what it will be like being a boy. But she's happy to be a girl.

jaybird said...

I loved your premise/idea of the gender swapping. It is so interesting!! And I have a feeling your MC will find out she is just as brave if not braver, as a girl. (I might be wrong)

Also, I liked Em-musing's rewrite. Follow along those lines and you are golden!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I was thrown by the name at the beginning of the sentence. Thought it was the number nine. Then thought you had a grammar error; then realized it was a name and had to reread. That might be enough to make an editor or agent stop.
Hope that helps.

ilima said...

AK-See? I knew they'd be confusing. Sigh. Thanks for the help!

T. Drecker-glad to know I'm not the only one who hates writing them. Thanks for the suggestions!

Fiona-I get what you mean about coming across wrong. She thinks becoming male will help her be brave, I obviously don't think that. And she does end up bad-ass...getting rid of the girl reference in that second sentence is a good idea. Thanks!

Em-Musing-Ah. So much simpler and clearer. I love it.

Giora-romance, dreams of fame, suspense...sounds fun.

Jaybird-Yes, girls are kick-a. This will be established by the end for sure! :)

Elizabeth-Wow. This is why I need more eyes on my stuff. I did not think for one minute the name "Nine" would be confusing, since that's been her "name" in my head for so long. That is very helpful!

Cassie Mae said...

You know, I totally suck at these too. But Kelley Lynn (I think she's a frequent visitor to your blog) I'm sure she'll come up with something brilliant. She always helps me with mine. :)

Jenny S. Morris said...

I'm not really confused (at least I think I'm not) but I can see why people would be confused. I agree with Cassie, Kelley is great at these.

BTW, sounds like a very intriguing concept.

Cortney Pearson said...

Very interesting concept. I followed it okay, but I'd change the line: "Nine must learn to become brave," I think you could amp that up a little. Maybe, "Nine is forced into bravery if she hopes to survive long enough to be Remade, if that's what she still wants." Or something. Supercool concept, and unlike anything I've heard!! :D

ilima said...

Cassie-Kelley, Kelley, where are you Kelley? :)

Jenny-I'm glad someone's not confused :), but I agree. I need to be crystal clear.

Cortney-I like Nine being forced into bravery--much more active and non-boring. I'm hoping this concept will hook agent interest. :)

Robin said...

I agree on leaving out Batch entirely and explaining why she wants to be male and when she made that decision. Em-Musings is really good. Here's my attempt.

On her way to be Remade male, Nine's shuttle crashes. Now alone, Nine must find the strength to survive and find her way back to the only life she has ever known.

For you I'm attempting my 1st ever logline:
When Rae, who reads love in photos as a side business at school, finds a baby picture of her soulmate, she has to find him, navigate HS, and stay under the principal's radar; all before her arch enemy can out her.

ilima said...

Robin-Thanks for the suggestions. I love your logline, especially all the things she has to do before she's outed. I'm going to ponder on "reads love in photos". I've read your MS so I know what it means, but I'm wondering if there's a clearer way to explain it. Hmm.

Kathryn Purdie said...

I think loglines need TONS of new eyes in order to see if they make sense, so this is great that you opened up yours for public criticism. Of course, I wasn't confused at all by your logline because I'm so familiar with your story. My main suggestion, would be along the lines of what Cortney said, and have you amp up the reason why Nine wants to become male. Becoming brave doesn't sound intriguing, in and of itself. Perhaps explaining why she wants to become brave will help. Why does her world/life make her feel weak in the first place?

ilima said...

Katie-She wants to be brave because Theron is such a stud, as you will soon find out :)