Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Logline Critique, Round 1 #2

TITLE: Other
GENRE: YA Romance

When Alain finds himself trapped in a magical estate where the normal laws of nature no longer apply, he strikes a bargain with the dour mistress of the estate. Grudgingly, she agrees to teach him the secrets of that Other World which governs magic. Neither of them bargains on falling in love with each other.


  1. When I hear "dour mistress," I think older woman. Is this a Mrs. Robinson kind of thing? If so...that's a little strange for a YA...

    Otherwise, this sounds like a fun premise.

  2. A couple of things:
    1. Why does he strike a bargain with her? This is unclear to me. Does he need to do this in order to get out? To survive? This is your MC's primary goal. You can't leave it out.
    2. I don't see any stakes or consequences. Falling in love is usually a good thing. So he's in danger of something good happening? Tell us what will happen if he doesn't learn these secrets/accomplish his goal.

    Good luck!

  3. I like the idea, magic is always awesome, and your line gives me a nice concise sense of the story, but I had a few word choice bugs.

    First, "estate" especially when used next to "magical." I initially read it quickly as "magical state" and was super confused. Also, you use it twice in one sentence. Could the first estate be changed to something more physical? Manor house?

    And I agree with emeraldcite about "dour mistress." If that's what you're implying, it's perfect, but if not, you might want to reconsider.

  4. Dour mistress makes me feel like she's an older woman while Alain is younger (considering this is a YA)? What caused them to strike the bargain? And what's the consequences of falling in love? Is it not allowed for a magical being (mistress) to fall in love with a normal (Alain)? Or was she not supposed to tell him the secrets?

  5. Agree with point 2 that Holly made on this one, and with the comments regarding 'dour mistress'. I think there's a good story under there, we just don't have any stakes at the moment.

  6. I agree that the stakes are missing. As is, the MC will learn magic and fall for his teacher. It's too nice. There has to be a problem, something that gets in the way. And what are the consequences if he doesn't resolve that problem? Add those two things to the mix and you're on your way.

  7. I like the ideas here but I don't get enough of the conflict and what's at stake. Saying it's a magical estate where normal laws of nature don't apply doesn't necessarily convey that it's a bad thing so you should instead say what is going wrong in this world or who is causing trouble and what it means for the MC. And I also agree that "dour mistress" made me think of an old woman so I was thrown off when I read they fall in love.

  8. I am really intrigued by this, and I think that all the above comments have some really strong ideas to help.
    I agree strong about the use of dour mistress, and some stronger stakes.

  9. Awesome title!

    I would suggest replacing "finds himself" with "is" and "no longer" with "don't". I also agree that I'm wanting to see a GOAL. Who is the dour mistress (name?) and what is/are the bargain/stakes?

    I want to see it written smoother and clearer and according to the general log line format: MC, conflict/mission, and consequences.

    Also, I would even say that you could leave out the bit about him falling in love with her, since it's just the log line. I feel like that would be better in a synopsis, since it doesn't seem critical to the story.

    Good luck! :)

  10. I agree with previous comments on "dour mistress" and the goal/stakes. Also, nothing about this logline sounds particularly YA to me.

  11. This is interesting, but a few things stuck out to me. Firstly, the dour mistress thing makes her sound old and crusty. Not exactly enticing to read about an old crusty lady's love life :P I also wonder what the stakes are? The MC doesn't seem to be very active in this logline. Things happen to him. What is the MC struggling to do? What prevents him from doing this? Hope I've helped and good luck :D

  12. I like the magical estate concept, but the others have posed some good questions/issues.

    Also, change the second use of bargains to something else - it's probably not the best word there and using it twice stands out oddly.

  13. I agree with everything everybody else said. Also, I think the overall writing needs to be tighter for a logline. Try to keep it to two sentences if you can.

  14. Like others have said, I think it needs to be snappier.

    Do you need to say "where the normal laws of nature no longer apply", or does that already come under the word "magical"? If so, you could cut the first half of that first sentence to "Trapped on a magical estate, Alain".

    I agree that the word 'mistress' makes her sound older - 'maiden' could be a possible alternative if she's young, and still gives the feeling that she's important there, I think.