Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Logline Critique Session Three #22

TITLE: The Garden at the Roof of the World
GENRE: Romantic Historical Fantasy

Gwenaella, a convent student in the high middle ages, sets out to find the Biblical Tree of Life in the hope that its fruit will cure the unicorn who walked in Eden with Eve. Her journey will take her across half the world and into the depths of our soul, where her capacity to love provides her one hope, and her worst peril.


  1. You've got an interesting premise and start here. However, I got stuck on the "...into the depths of our soul..." My brain instantly went 'how did she get into my soul?'. Completely took me out of your logline and i'm still not sure what you mean.

    Adding a mention of why its important to her to cure the unicorn would help me understand her motivation and may help increase the stakes (which seem vague to me at this point).

    Best of luck and thank you for sharing!

  2. The unicorn seems dropped in a little strangely - I found myself puzzling over what the unicorn who walked in Eden with Eve is doing sick in a convent. Maybe you could start by giving the unicorn a touch more introduction - "when Gwenaella, a convent student... discovers the unicorn who walked in Eden with Eve, now dying, she sets out to find...Otherwise, the first
    sentence is good and makes me want to read it.

    I find the second sentence too vague. Half the world is fine, but what do you mean by 'into the depths of our soul?' In what way does her capacity to love provide her hope and her peril? It's an interesting idea, but it needs to be specific.

  3. I would love to read this! I think maybe the stakes are a little vague--what is her worst peril? What is her one hope? Why is it so important to cure the unicorn?

    Otherwise, I am very hooked!

  4. My first question is why does she want to cure the unicorn? How does this affect her? What will happen if she fails? Also, I don't understand the "one hope". I think you need to be more specific. One hope to find the tree? Hasn't she been hoping to find it all along?

    Also, your logline should be written in present tense ("will take her" needs to be "takes her").

  5. I also stumbled over "our soul". I also want to know why she wants to cure the unicorn. What's in it for Gwenaella?

  6. Sounds like an interesting fantasy story! However, I don't think you need to use the word "Historical" in your genre, since fantasy novels often have medieval settings, even non-mythical or earthly settings.
    I see what Gwenaella's goal is, but I don't know why it's so important. It seems to be chasing a dream. Why is it so important to Gwenaella? Why should the reader want to follow her in her quest, and why should we be concerned about her? I think there needs to be an indication of the conflict facing her.
    Finally, where you say "into the depths of our soul," you're editorializing the story rather than giving a brief synopsis. Your logline should focus just on the crux of the story. Give us details that make us care and want to read the book.

    God bless,

  7. While I absolutely love the premise, I think you need to focus the conflict and take out the vague sweeping statements like 'across half the world' and 'into the depths of our soul.' I want to know more about what the consequences are if she doesn't cure this unicorn.

  8. The first half is good, but the second half is a little vague, as Mai said. Gwenaella's goal is to cure the unicorn, and that's spelled out well, but I'm wondering why she wants to do this so badly that she goes to all this trouble? What will happen if she doesn't cure it?

    I'm also wondering how she came across the unicorn but I understand there's only so much info you can put in a logline :-)

  9. I can only repeat what others have asked. Why does she want to do this? Why is it important to her? And who or what will try to stop her?

    I'm guessing 'our' soul is a typo and should be 'her?'

  10. I like your premise. However, the the logline has no conflict and consequences. Perhaps it's there, but it's difficult to find because the 2nd sentence is non-specific.

  11. Is her belief in myths and her adherrance to the bible a conflict both external and internal? Is mother superior going to chase all over god's creation?

    I'm intrigued, even if what I wrote, you didn't.

    Well written.

  12. Gee, I just assumed Gwenaella was a nice person who'd want to help a sick creature (especially if it was an important and I suppose rare unicorn). It's sick and needs the fruit to get better. Does she have to have an ulterior motive? (I'm an avid reader of historical fiction and fantasy- sometimes, I think we just accept epic situations more easily than the norm).

    I would replace student with "novice" (that was the word for a girl who went to convent to get an education.

    And I also got confused on "our soul". I'm thinking you meant her soul, but even that soundls like one of those "sweeping generalizations" that agent Kristin Nelson says not to put in pitches. It's hard, I know, to pack an epic journey into a two line pitch. She did a blog post on that recently- Pub Rants- check it out.

  13. I love this premise, though the last line is a little vague. This is a book I would definitely like to read.

  14. I think its to vague. What is the conflict? stakes to her? I'm still left wondering what unicorn?

    Good luck

  15. I think the premise itself has good potential, but the 2nd sentence is too general. ?depths of OUR soul (or her soul?). I think the key is to keep it simple and specific.

  16. Like sbjames, I don't think you need to explain why she wants to cure the unicorn - unicorns are generally considered pretty much the magical embodiment of goodness and purity. It's not a stretch to me that someone would think it desperately important to save one.

  17. Thank you to all who have left and to those who will leave comments on my logline!