Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Logline Critique, Round 2 #10

TITLE: Killing Horizons
GENRE: Women's fiction/thriller

When Lena Sergeyovna marries a wealthy American to escape her oppressed life in the USSR, she encounters true danger in her new home. Her only potential savior is also her pursuer – the live-in nanny. Lena’s fatal mistake is allowing the girl to become close, prompting her husband’s vengeance on both women.


  1. I want to know something more specific than 'true danger'. And it doesn't make sense to me that the nanny is her 'pursuer'. I think you need to be more detailed about what the actual conflict it to help clarify.

  2. There are elements here of what is probably an intriguing story, but it's a bit muddled right now. If you put it in the format of

    When [MAIN CHARACTER] [INCITING INCIDENT], he [CONFLICT]. And if he doesn’t [GOAL], he will [CONSEQUENCES]

    it might be easier to sort out the pieces. I assume getting married and coming to the US is inciting incident and "true danger in her new home" is the conflict. It would be good to specify what that true danger is. Then arrange the rest in the form of GOAL/CONSEQUNCES. The last bit is too vague to convey the tension you want.

    Also, is this historical? If it's present day, you should probably refer to her home country as Russia (or specify a town or region) rather than the USSR, which no longer exists.

    Thanks for sharing and good luck.

  3. 1. "true danger in her new home" is too vague. What/who is the danger?
    2. How or why is the nanny pursuing someone she lives with? And how is this nanny going to save her from the "true danger"?
    3. The final sentence is telling us what happens like it's done. Tell us like it's happening.
    4. What does Lena want in this story? To escape the "true danger"? If so, how does this girl help her do this and how does the husband try to stop her? And what happens if he succeeds?

    To wrap up, I think you need something like, "Lena marries GUY so she can escape her oppressed life but soon finds life is much worse when GUY DOES HORRIBLE THING. Desperate to get away (THIS IS THE GOAL), Lena befriends the only person she has contact with: the nanny. Unfortunately, INSERT A BUNCH OF THINGS SHE HAS TO DO TO MEET GOAL, and if she FAILS GOAL, she and nanny will both CONSEQUENCES."

    Good luck!

  4. I agree with Holly. It sounds like an interesting story, but I do not have a strong understanding of what is happening here. What is true danger?

  5. I had an odd response to this. Although the hook feels flat, the story is intriguing. The question is whether a more experienced reader (i.e. an agent/editor)will have the same reaction. Perhaps you might consider punching up the language a bit. "Her oppressed life" could be shortened to "oppression." "True danger" could be converted into something with dynamic words -- shocking secret, terrifying, menacing, etc. Also, the word "encounter" is passive. Perhaps you could enhance the atmosphere of danger by selecting a stronger verb.

    Despite these possible shortcomings, I still want to read the book, so you're obviously doing something right. My comments simply may be nitpicking.

    Good luck!

  6. Holly seems to have cut through the confusion. Because she's right, we don't really know why her husband is seeking vengeance, or what form it takes. It's a delicate balance to strike between giving away the whole thing and leaving so much out that we say, "Huh?" It sounds like it could be a really intriguing read, but I don't really know enough about the story to be able to tell for sure.

  7. I'm afraid I'm rather confused by this one. It sounds like the danger in her new home is the nanny (her pursuer), but how can her pursuer also be her savior? And why does their getting close prompt the husband's vengeance? I recommend checking out some of the good ideas other commenters have suggested for clarifying.

  8. This sounds like a repeat theme; of course, there is nothing wrong with that.

    However, I didn't feel the urgency.

    "She encounters true danger in her new home" doesn't sound scary.

    "potential" sounds too soft or something. I would delete it.

    Make us feel the danger! I want to tremble in my boots!

  9. Perhaps say what the true danger is. Is she kept prisoner in the house? Is someone trying to kill her? Tell us.

    And how can the live-in nanny be pursuing her if they both live in the same house? Perhaps the confusion here is in the word 'pursuer.' And if she knows the nanny is her pursuer, why would she let her get close?

    Perhaps use the advice you've received here to make this clearer and more specific.

  10. One suggestion I have is to say Lena goes from one hot spot to another. Despite moving from Russia to escape danger, she finds it in her new home of America as well. (or tighter words to that effect) We feel for the MC right away in this setting. Then the clarifiers above take care of the rest for me.
    Great start -keep working on it!

  11. USSR? Not Russia? Is it historical? Maybe you can set the time for us 1900s? Cold War era? Does it matter?

  12. I'm not sure I see what your MC's goal is. I can see she's in danger, but what kind of danger is it?
    Is her goal to escape the danger? If is is, be more specific. I want to feel for her but right now it's a little too vague for me to worry about her!

    I like the premise though...Nice start! :)

  13. It seems like there's a great idea in here and maybe a gripping tale. But I'm with the camp that feels it's a bit too vague...

    "true danger" [starvation? loss of wealth? being sent home? being abducted by aliens?]
    "potential savior" [from what?]
    "her pursuer" [in what way? with what agenda?]
    "prompting...vengeance" [prompting how? in what way?]

    Man! Loglines are hard! Such a fine balance between too much and not enough; every word must be pure gold :(

  14. This is too vague to entice me. Tell us what specific danger Lena is in, what she must do about it, and what the stakes are if she succeeds or fails.

  15. I agree that this needs to be more specific. Right now it's just confusing and not exciting enough (though I think the excitement is in the story and just needs brought out more) You've gotten great comments on how to fix it.