Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Logline Critique, Round 1 #35

TITLE: Unitus
GENRE: YA/Dystopian

Life in Unitus (formerly the United States) is so unbearable that 15-year-old Abby Byrd sees only one way out: alien abduction. She succeeds in attracting an alien, but instead of a friendly rescue, the alien warrior has murder in mind. Abby manages to steal his ship, but damages it in the process. She elicits help from the twin boys with whom she has a complicated relationship: she likes Lucas, but Logan likes her. Meanwhile, both the alien warrior and agents from Unitus are closing in on Abby and her spaceship--and the alien's teenage nephew, knowing his uncle's violent nature, shows up to prevent him from killing anyone. He and Abby are immediately attracted to each other, but the twins are jealous and Unitus is going all out to thwart any threat to its power--alien or human.

17 comments:

Heather said...

i think you could boil this down more--write it less like a synopsis, including lots of action, and more like a book cover--focusing on the main action/conflict.

Jenny said...

I agree with Heather - this reads more like a synopsis. From what I've read, I think you can boil it down to something like this:

"Life in Unitus is so unbearable that 15-year-old Abby Byrd sees only one way out: steal an alien spaceship and get the heck out of there. But now the ship's previous owner and the forces of Unitus are both after Abby, and if she doesn't do X, X will happen, etc..."

You see what I mean. I think this gets too bogged down with lots of characters and little plot points that probably aren't necessary in the logline.

staceylee said...

The others said it well; less is more. Sounds like an intriguing read.

matril said...

This is great but, as others have said, too long for a logline. Focus on what Abby wants (the first sentence is great for that) and, succinctly, what obstacles stand in her way. Mention only the most important characters - too many of them, and they bog things down. Focus on what's essential, and you should be able to trim it to a better length.

Jessica Leake said...

Too many words, of course, but I like the idea of the story. The first sentence is a good start. Maybe build on that?

KimberlyFDR said...

Cut this down considerably. Don't summarize everything, just give the basics: Main character, mission, consequences if mission fails.

Maggie said...

This is very intriguing, but as everyone else has pretty much covered, it's too much for a log-line. As Kimberly said above: Main character, mission, & consequences.

Good luck! It sounds awesome.

GSMarlene said...

I agree with the others, but I had an additional thought while reading - this sounds more MG than YA. A little to fantastical, hard to willingly suspend disbelief.

Or maybe this is just because my next project will be MG!

It sounds like fun though!

historybender said...

Great premise. The voice is more MG in my opinion. If your story isn't, then you need to get this to mature a bit to fit.

I would also try to cut to just the gist of the story. The seed. This is almost a query.

Girl wants to be abducted. Abductor proves dangerous. Girl must fight back without destroying her chance at a new life. This is what I see as the seed. Just brainstorming with you here...

Good luck!

Holly Bodger said...

I'm a little confused as to why Abby thinks an alien would a) want to abduct her and b) want to do it for a friendly reason. Assuming I can accept that, if this happens in the beginning of the book then it is not her goal. The goal is not accomplished (or given up) until the very end of the book. As this is written, I can't figure out what her goal is. It sounds like it might be to escape. If so, you need to give us the things that are stopping her from escaping (for example, aliens and Unitus are after her). You also need to clarify where she is escaping to. Finally, you don't need any of these details about the boys unless they are somehow going to help or hinder her goal.

Good luck!
Holly

Adam Heine said...

This is definitely more a synopsis than a logline. A lot of the subplots can be cut entirely (e.g. the love triangle, the alien's nephew). Focus on only one thing: what does the MC want? What is in the way of her getting what she wants? And what will happen if she DOESN'T get what she wants?

Anonymous said...

Story sounds great, but remember, a logline is a 1-2 sentence description of your plot. You need to tighten this down.

Katherine said...

There is way too much info here. You're bogging us down in details we don't need for a logline. Pick out the most important bits and sum it up in 1 to 2 sentences.

Traci Van Wagoner said...

This sounds like an interesting story with a lot of conflict and tension. As others have said, you need to boil it down to the main conflict of the story. I got way too bogged down with all this information. Imagine being in an elevator with an agent or an editor. You've got less than a minute to tell them what your story is about. It needs to be fast, juicy and leave an impression. Hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, everyone, for your comments. Because of the 150-word limit, I thought we were going for more than the traditional logline, but I see exactly what you're saying here.

All the best!

Eliza Tilton said...

I like the first line,see if you can work that in with the main goal, maybe...

Life in Unitus (formerly the United States) is so unbearable that 15-year-old Abby Byrd sees only one way out: alien abduction, but when her alien-in-shining-spacesuit is a murderer planning to eradicate the human race, she teams up with his nephew to save the world she so desperately tried to escape.

something like that, lol.

Bron said...

I haven't read the other comments, but I'm guessing they'll say something similar: this is way too long. It reads more like the description you would give in a query than a logline. It's really hard to boil your plot down to a few sentences, but cut everything that's not absolutely essential. What is the main story here?

eg. Life in the former United States is so unbearable that 15-year-old Abby Byrd sees only one way out: alien abduction. Others have used friendly aliens to escape to more hospitable planets, but the alien Abby attracts turns out to have murder in mind. Abby must escape from both him and her planet's agents, a task made more complicated by her attraction to the alien's nephew.

My version is less than half the size of yours. Details like his damaged spaceship, the twins, etc. can come in your query. You need to highlight the unique parts of your story, which to me were the fact that Abby wants an alien to abduct her, and that she is attracted to his nephew.

I'm sure you can do a better job than I did, just be ruthless with your cutting :-)