Wednesday, October 22, 2014

And a Final Chunk of Logline Wisdom From Holly Bodger

(Feel free to heap accolades, thanks, sycophantic remarks, and promises of your firstborn children for Holly in the comment box!)

1) The most common problem I saw this round was the use of vague or cliché expressions in the place of real details. I think some writers do this because they think it creates intrigue. It doesn’t. When you say something like, “Linda needs to come to terms with her past,” this tells me nothing. Did she cheat on her first boyfriend? Was she abused by her father? Was she a mermaid who sold her voice for the chance of love with a guy with unusually perfect hair? YOU MUST BE SPECIFIC! All stories are pretty much the same without the specifics. The specifics are what makes it SPECIAL!!!

2) A few of you started off with the need (YAY!) For those of you who didn’t, please remember that readers engage with the character’s need, not their goal. That’s why I tell you to put it first. For example, start your logline with, “All Harry wants is to belong,” and I am in for 7 books, 8 movies, and a theme park. Start it with, “All Harry wants is to find the sword with the magic powers,” and I’m mildly interested, but I’m not paying $39 for a fake wand.

3) For those of you who completely ignored the rules of a logline, I’m going to guess that you’re also ignoring this post. If you aren’t, please please please remember that this is not the time and place to try to break the rules. If you can pull it off, please go ahead and break rules and conventions and stereotypes with your story. But don’t do it in your logline. You’re trying to show agents that you are a great writer who will be a pleasure to work with for years to come. Screaming, I DON’T FOLLOW RULES is not really the best way to accomplish this. Yes, you may be the one person who manages to pull it off, but you are a lot more likely to be one of the 99 who doesn’t.

Feel free to email me if you have further questions.


I announced Ava Jae's original success story in February.  I'm happy to share this exciting update with you!

Sometime last year, Team Fury member extraordinaire Lady Lioness noticed some promising entries on one of Authoresss Secret Agent contests and told agent of awesome Louise Fury about them. (Can you tell I love my agent and her team? Anyway). They then e-mailed Authoress and asked about the entries, and Authoress asked if Louise would be willing to be a secret agent for one of her blog contests. Louise agreed to do it with another agent, so she and Emily Keyes lined up to be October Secret Agents.

Meanwhile, Id been querying my newest Sci-Fi novel, then titled SLAVE & SIRA for about a month when, on October 7, 2013, the entry period for Miss Snarks First Victims October Secret Agent contest opened up. I figured it was worth a try, entered, and crossed my fingers.

After some confusion I detailed in my last MSFV happy post, on October 14th Louise picked my entry as a runner up, requesting my query and the first three chapters. Which then led to a request of the first fifty pages, which led to a request of the full, which led to a super happy e-mail about setting up a phone call, and a ridiculously exciting phone call in which she offered representation! 

On February 2, 2014 I officially announced that Id signed with Louise and became part of Team Fury! YAY!

And thus began several months of editing and brainstorming new titles (because apparently titles with made up words arent that popular or something? Who wouldve guessed, right? *ehem*). We went on submission in June and after four-ish months of fretting, and writing, and waiting, and incessantly checking e-mails

On October 7, 2014 (EXACTLY a year after I entered the Secret Agent contest!) I accepted an offer of hardcover publication from Sky Pony Press! Sky Pony is the YA imprint of Skyhorse and their website is here.

The PM announcement says this:

"Ava Jae's debut BEYOND THE RED, in which a feud on a distant, crimson planet with established nanite technology creates a violent uprising that threatens the reign of a teenage queen and forces her to turn to her rebel half-blood bodyguard for help, before the planet's human population is destroyed at the hands of her power-hungry twin brother, to Nicole Frail at Sky Pony Press, in a nice deal, for publication in early 2016, by Louise Fury at The Bent Agency …”

Im completely elated and seriously cannot wait to share BEYOND THE RED with you guys, which is currently slated for release in hardcover/e-book in March 2016! You can add BEYOND THE RED to your Goodreads shelf right here.

And to thinkit all started with a random lottery drawing right here on this blog.

Thank you so much, Authoress! My dream is coming true and your awesome blog was the catalyst. :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Logline Critique Round Three: Critique Guidelines

Guidelines for Critiquing the loglines:
  • If yours is one of the 40 entries posted today, PLEASE LEAVE CRITIQUE FOR A MINIMUM OF 5 OTHER ENTRIES.  
  • Please leave your critique for each entry in the comment box for that entry.
  • Please choose a screen name to sign your comments. The screen name DOES NOT have to be your real name; however, it needs to be an identifiable name.  ("Anonymous" is not a name.)
  • Critiques should be honest but kind, helpful but sensitive.
  • Critiques that attack the writer or are couched in unkind words will be deleted.*

*I can't possibly read every comment.  If you ever see a comment that is truly snarky, please email me.  I count on your help.

Logline Critique Round Three #40

TITLE: Daughter of the Seventh Moon
GENRE: YA Fantasy

On her sixteenth birthday Meredith Rhodes must use the powers of the moon to break a family curse and learn the truth - did she really kill her mother?

Logline Critique Round Three #39

TITLE: Calling Do Over
GENRE: Fantasy Romantic Comedy

Their love trumps the passage of time, global amnesia, and species, or at least Luke Preston would like to think so. Doesn't love _always_ trump everything? Now if only he wasn't reincarnated with a freakin' tail. No matter, chicks dig small furry animals.

Logline Critique Round Three #38

TITLE: The Faithful Son
GENRE: Fantasy/Myth retelling

When the pansexual prince Gilgamesh, once known for his beauty and wit, returns from the underworld, he’s haunted by shadows and by powers he cannot control. If he can’t overcome his personal demons and regain the trust of his former allies, he will lose the people he loves, the city he was born to rule, and even his soul.

Logline Critique Round Three #37

TITLE: Diva Diaries

To pay for college, an aspiring singer sells her voice to a tone-deaf Hollywood actress. The arrangement becomes more than she bargained for when the actress becomes the next teen pop princess.

Logline Critique Round Three #36

TITLE: Island Shadows

When a sixteen-year-old girl travels to a wooded river island to solve a forty-year old mystery of a missing heiress and an abandoned castle, she learns that not all fairy tales have happy endings and that someone is determined she doesn’t have one either.

Logline Critique Round Three #35

TITLE: Birds Of A Feather
GENRE: Fantasy

Beauty is a witch, and the beast was never human.

Logline Critique Round Three #34

TITLE: The Re-Education of Christopher Parker the Third
GENRE: Contemporary MG

A superstar at prestigious Fletcher Academy, 7th grader Christopher Parker the Third loses everything when the family’s finances crash. Now, trapped in the local public school and determined to reclaim his life at Fletcher, Christopher depends on a wise-cracking skateboarder and his friends for help that they’re not aware they’re giving.

Logline Critique Round Three #33

TITLE: The Michelangelist
GENRE: literary fiction/historical fiction

Sean Everett, a 25-year-old sculptor with a penchant for self defeat (and psychoactive herbs) finds a mentor in another 25-year-old artist—Michelangelo. Through vivid, psychic visitations, Sean witnesses Michelangelo transform a crude block of marble into the famous David, and in the process discovers technique, vision, and most of all, purpose.

Logline Critique Round Three #32

TITLE: Steam, Steel and Static
GENRE: YA Steampunk

Addie Tolliver wants independence. She never planned on protecting men in her matriarchal society; especially not the boy betrothed to her rival, the boy who makes her heart sing more than repairing old mechanations. When the Timekeeper decides to exile all men, Addie must either join the rebellion for equality, risking the lives of everyone she loves, or sacrifice her freedom working for the Timekeeper in the hopes she can save them all.

Logline Critique Round Three #31

TITLE: Saving Penelope
GENRE: Adult Literary Fiction

On a farm in the 90’s under a crazed father’s fist, half-black David simmers with his dream of being a black Gatsby. So when his white father whips David’s chest apart in some sick slave fantasy , David flees the golden wheat for Chicago, the promised city…for the naïve.

Logline Critique Round Three #30

TITLE: Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles
GENRE: MG contemporary (verse)

When her parents enroll in marriage camp, 11-year-old Bailey and her brother spend August on an island with a grandmother they barely know. With the help of a driftwood mermaid, mysterious ice-cream vendor, and new best friend, Bailey learns how everyday miracles can change lives.

Logline Critique Round Three #29

GENRE: MG Science Fiction

Eleven-year-old Mike wants to become NASA’s youngest astronaut. When he learns the Pan-galactic emperor plans to close Earth to space travel unless human allergies to alien worlds are recorded, he volunteers to eat candies from an intergalactic test dispenser – which give him temporary superpowers. But only his inner superhero can save him from a four-armed, snout-faced alien determined that Mike fails.

Logline Critique Round Three #28

TITLE: Only a Harbor
GENRE: Adult Fiction

To avoid dealing with upheaval in their own lives, three college grads sign up for a year of volunteer service. But when living and working together in inner city Baltimore exposes their wounds and failures, they find they can’t hope to save the world unless they save each other first.

Logline Critique Round Three #27

TITLE: First Tuesday
GENRE: Thriller

When out-of-work lawyer John Garner reaches for a piece of scratch paper, he unwittingly picks up proof of a nation under siege. He’s one ordinary man, with just four days to crack the code, four days to uncover the scheme, four days to expose the unraveling of our future. And for those four days, his hardest task will be to stay alive.

Logline Critique Round Three #26

TITLE: The Last Case
GENRE: Romantic suspense

A policewoman is framed in a department corruption scandal. Trying to exonerate herself, she catches the attention of two gorgeous men. One ignores the law, the other breaks it. She has to decide which one is worth the risk.

Logline Critique Round Three #25

TITLE: Spinning the Golden Light Bulb
GENRE: MG Speculative Fiction

When 11 year-old Kia Krumpet competes in the National Finals for a spot at Piedmont Inventors Prep School, she and her NY teammates build an object that may deliver dead people to their perfect resting place. But when another team destroys thier project, Kia must outsmart them with a better invention, or she'll never get to build Pants Pockets That Bake Muffins at PIPS or her 67 other inventions either.

Logline Critique Round Three #24

TITLE: Little Do You Know
GENRE: YA Thriller

When her boyfriend fell to his death two years ago, Ellie thought she’d never be happy again, until she found comfort in his best friend, Travis. Now she’s back on Santa Cruz Island, for her school’s annual science trip, determined not to let guilt prevent her from pursuing a relationship with Travis, but when Ellie stumbles upon an underground lab and finds her boyfriend alive everything changes.

Logline Critique Round Three #23

TITLE: Ester, Called Maria
GENRE: MG Historical Fiction

For Ester Cordova, being a secret Jew is a bit like a game until 1536 when she turns thirteen the same year the Inquisition arrives in Portugal. As she learns from her grandparents about the past and growing danger to her family, and her dual identities collide, she must do the unimaginable to save her family and herself.

Logline Critique Round Three #22

TITLE: The Sapphire Legacy
GENRE: Historical Romance

To escape her post as governess, former heiress Mae Blackthorne must trust Ethan Locke, a pirate who claims her long-lost family vault contains a sapphire that can give eternal life. But the true owners of the gem are far more dangerous than Mae and Locke feared, and soon Mae could lose much more than her second chance at luxury.

Logline Critique Round Three #21

GENRE: Contemporary MG

When a mischievous thirteen-year-old accidentally sends a classmate to the hospital with his latest prank, his parents surprise him with the threat of boarding school. He runs away to his Dad’s piano-delivering punk rocker cousins, but gets grounded on their delivery trip with the elusive task of proving himself less selfish.

Logline Critique Round Three #20

TITLE: Where All the Missing Pieces Go
GENRE: YA Fantasy

Tricked into painting the stars, magic-less Jane had her voice, vision, and memories stolen by Etoile Nymphs. Now she must hunt them down before they return to the sky forever with all her missing pieces.

Logline Critique Round Three #19

TITLE: Next Of Kin

On the eve of Emily’s eighteenth birthday, her mother tries to bind Emily's powers and gets carted off by—surprise—Emily’s demon father, and the local coven attempt a ritual sacrafice with Emily as their virginal offering. Emily needs to part ways with her damned virginity before it gets her killed; oh, and figure out a way to save her mom without losing her own soul to daddy-dearest.

Logline Critique Round Three #18

TITLE: The Mineral Kingdom
GENRE: YA - Low Fantasy

Six teenagers wake up in a world that's not their own. To get home they must survive harsh desert conditions, face violent sand beasts, and - perhaps the most difficult of all - put aside their prejudices so they can work together. But they need to do it quickly, because something about this place is changing them, and it's not necessarily for the better.

Logline Critique Round Three #17

TITLE: Containment
GENRE: Adult/Dystopian

When a decorated veteran finds the brother he had thought was dead on display for tourists in the ruling family's park among the zombified "survivors" of a mysterious illness, he risks everything to fight the repressive regime for control over his brother's future.

Logline Critique Round Three #16

GENRE: Science Fiction

After giving up a promising career to keep a pledge to a dead friend, ex-Star Service pilot Rand MacGregor has a chance to rejoin the Service. To achieve that dream, he must use his extraordinary mental powers to capture a shape-shifter who is willing to risk intra-galactic war by killing thousands to destroy one adversary.

Logline Critique Round Three #15

TITLE: The Crystal Domain
GENRE: Tween fantasy fiction

A deaf girl receives magical hearing aids. With them she can hear into another realm where voices fight over an ancient crystal necklace—the one her mom just found. Will using the aids solve the mystery or threaten their existence? Think Narnia meets Frozen with a gem and spiritual twist.

Logline Critique Round Three #14

TITLE: Tracker220
GENRE: YA sci fi/thriller

When everyone has a tracking chip that interfaces with their brain, one glitch threatens the network. Sixteen-year-old Kaya Weiss’s chip is that glitch.

Logline Critique Round Three #13

TITLE: The Haunted Serpent
GENRE: MG Mystery

12-year-old misfit Spaulding Meriwether sets out to win the approval of his paranormal investigator parents by proving there’s a supernatural explanation for strange events around his hometown. But when he uncovers a conspiracy involving a ruthless entrepreneur who would kill to protect his occult business secrets, Spaulding knows it’s time to stop playing kid detective -- except the game’s already afoot, whether he wants to play or not.

Logline Critique Round Three #12

TITLE: Adrift
GENRE: Mystery

Scientist-turned-divemaster Mer Cavallo doesn’t believe in ghosts. But she's justifiably spooked when the leader of a paranormal dive team disappears on one of her dives, and law enforcement suspects she had a hand in it. Clearing her name means resurrecting ghosts from her past and outwitting an enemy she can’t see.

Logline Critique Round Three #11

TITLE: In the Dead of Night
GENRE: YA Paranormal Thriller

A nyctophobic mage investigates a grisly series of murders at a boarding school for the supernatural.

Logline Critique Round Three #10

TITLE: The Last Bitter Word
GENRE: NA Contemporary Romance

Mara, a Christian bookstore owner who has never been to church, funded her business with money that she found hidden under the floorboards the day her mother overdosed and died. Hoping to capitalize on the world's all-time bestseller and convinced that hiding behind the Bible will shield her from whoever is looking for the cash, Mara opens Word. Now, caught between two heroes, Mara must face her lies and the man hunting her down.

Logline Critique Round Three #9

TITLE: The Firefly Field
GENRE: MG Light Fantasy Adventure

Discovering what it means to be different, leads Herby, a firefly, to a bigger purpose that intertwines with ten-year-old boys, Josh and Tucker's, saving their town's fields from Josh's dad, the developer.

If Herby's plan doesn't win the hearts of the townspeople, and if Josh and Tucker don't convince the town council, a monster Mall-Mart will destroy their cherished firefly field - Herby's home.

Logline Critique Round Three #8

TITLE: Sea Star
GENRE: MG Fiction

A man disappears in his private plane off the coast of North Carolina and his headstrong twelve-year-old daughter refuses to accept his death. It takes an unexpected bond of friendship with an old sea captain, her belief in mermaids, and a haunting experience while lost overboard at sea for her to come to terms with her loss.

Logline Critique Round Three #7

TITLE: Puddler's Hall
GENRE: MG Mystery Adventure

Peridot Smith wants a home. After too many bad foster experiences she hits the streets. But the streets are no refuge. While being stalked by a menacing stranger, Peri discovers Puddler's Hall, where subtle magic feels like a glimmer of home. But when mysterious messages begin arriving on a broken cell phone, Peri starts to question the truth behind her parents' death and to wonder if the Hall's magic is helping her -- or not.

Logline Critique Round Three #6

TITLE: Pursuit of Craze
GENRE: Romantic Thriller

To save her rock star boyfriend, Allie must destroy the seven deadly sinners threatening his life. Sex, drugs, shocks and poles-- she’ll do whatever it takes, and she'll do it all without chipping her new manicure.

Logline Critique Round Three #5

TITLE: Prime Vector
GENRE: YA Science Fiction

Prime Vector is a young adult science fiction novel, set in futuristic Mars. Catita, a sixteen-year old immortal, finds her way onto the Queen’s black list – her former peers are hunting her. When the life she once loved is gone, she’s left with two uncertain choices – escape Mars to save herself or stay and fight back.

Logline Critique Round Three #4

TITLE: Person of Mass Destruction
GENRE: Sci-Fi/Fantasy

It's Romeo and Juliet, if Romeo were a manipulative, aristocratic Mage, Juliet a cyborg soldier, and one of them survives.

Logline Critique Round Three #3

TITLE: Glistronaut
GENRE: YA Science Fiction

Alex Mata’s going insane. He’s 17, he’s hearing voices and he’s seeing things just like his schizo Uncle Chuy. But there are things far stranger and more serious than insanity afoot . Alex is being recruited by The Gentry -- an alien race attempting to prevent a pernicious and deadly force from destroying the galaxy -- and Alex’s developing schizophrenia is the exact tool they’re looking for.

Logline Critique Round Three #2

TITLE: Frame of Reference
GENRE: Adult Suspense/Intrigue

Librarian Quinn craves excitement and gets more than she bargained for when a research assignment goes pear-shaped and she’s unintentionally pulled into a handsome library patron’s world of intrigue. Driven by duty, Quinn pushes aside concern for her safety as the two race to uncover and secure vital information hidden in an art collection before it can fall into the wrong hands and threaten millions of lives.