Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Logline Critique, Round 2 #13

TITLE: IN AN INSTANT
GENRE: Contemporary Romance

When single mother and aspiring concert pianist Beth Rhinehardt drops off a package as a favor for an old friend, she discovers that she’s been tricked into delivering a “Dear John” letter to the boy next door—a man she’s always worshiped from afar. A chance to make amends blossoms into romance, but juggling her dreams for love, family and career turns out to be the hardest performance she’s ever given. Beth must come to terms with her fears and decide what, and who, are most important to her...before her choices destroy everyone she loves.

13 comments:

Ninja Girl said...

I like the first sentence/conflict. I do think it could be tightened, but I think it's close to being where it should be. All the info's there. It works; I'd just make it sharper. The second and third sentences are where I get lost. I think the third could be taken out and the second could perhaps be shortened to something like this "A chance to make amends, blossoms into romance, but juggling her dreams and home life turns out to be the hardest performace she's ever given." Something like that. Otherwise, I'd say to just leave it where the first sentence ends. The first line drew me in, and the other two lost me. Great concept/idea, just think the hook still needs a little work.
Ninja Girl

tarak said...

I liked this quite a bit, I'd just offer a few suggestions to tighten it up. I would switch "aspiring" with something less vague. To me it implies anything from someone who took lessons for a few years and aspires to more to a woman who could easily play in concert halls but for personal circumstances (single motherhood, for example). I sort of assume it's the latter, but different word choice would make it clear. I'd also leave out the last sentence. The information you need to hook me is already there in the first two.

Krista V. said...

I think this is too long. The first sentence feels a little extraneous; I'm not sure we need to have that information to understand the premise.

The rest, I think, relies too heavily on generalizations. Phrases like "juggling her dreams for love, family and career" and "Beth must come to terms with her fears" feel too big - and too commmonplace - to really tell us anything (although I love the phrase "the hardest performance she's ever given" - that one has life and personality).

Also, how will her choices destroy everyone she loves? That sounds a little too overblown for the type of story this is. Do her choices literally have the power to destroy her loved ones? Probably not. So what more specific expression could you use to define the stakes?

Good luck with this!

Holly Bodger said...

1. Is the guy next door a boy or a man because he can't be both?
2. What does "a chance to make amends" mean? Does she try to apologize for sending the Dear John letter?
3. How is juggling dreams a hard performance? Again, you are using vague cliches here and it's confusing. Tell us what she wants and why it's hard to get.
4. "Beth must come to terms with..." is not a tangible end goal. WHAT DOES SHE WANT?
5. "Before her choices destroy everyone..."-> again, vague and cliche.

Overall, this logline is suffering from what agents call "the lovely writing that tells them nothing "(often seen in a query). If you want to stand out, you need to tell us what happens to Beth and why it is special.

Good luck!
Holly

Sarah Brand said...

The last sentence threw me off. "Her fears" kind of comes out of nowhere (what is she afraid of?), as does "destroy everyone she loves" (how would that happen?). You set up the inciting incident really well, but as others have said, the rest is too vague to really grab me.

Ginger Tsang said...

I love the "hardest performance she's ever given".

I'm confused about the love interest. If he lives next door how has she been admiring him from afar and not know he was next door to her? As well, if she's been admiring him from afar how is there any "chance to make amends" with him? Or does that chance refer to another character? Things are too vague here.

Some tightening up and clarification are all this logline needs - good luck!

Barbara said...

I liked the first sentence. I thought it set this up well. But a chance to make amends tells us nothing. Perhaps say what she actually did, and then go on to the romance blossoming.

I didn't get why the juggling of her daily life was so hard, and I wasn't feeling sympathetic because it's something we all do. If there's more to it than daily living, perhaps say what that is.

Perhaps also say what her fears are, and how not overcoming them could destroy those she loves. If there's something dangerous here, give us a clue. As is, it seems an overstatement.

Kate Larkindale said...

I think it's a little long and seems to be relying too much on cliches that don't really tell us anything.

I'm also a little confused about how he can the boy next door and admired from afar... I think you need to be more specific about everything and then you'll have something really compelling.

Noelle Pierce said...

I was thrown at "worshipped him from afar" after you said "boy" and had to check if this was YA. Then I remembered that she's a single mother. I didn't get past that until after I started writing this comment. The last line (stakes) is interesting, but it needs to be tightened. Sounds like it could have some great character development.

MaDonna Maurer said...

It does seem long. The first sentence confused me with the "boy next door" and "man she's always worshiped..."
I think that you can tighten it up and clarify a bit more, and then have a really good logline.
btw, I liked the phrase, "hardest performance she's ever given", too!

Author of Post said...

Thanks to everyone for your comments...specificity is something I've really struggled with expressing, because this is a character-driven book, and no one action seems to stand on its own. I often struggle with the logline formula, which seems much more focused toward action-heavy books. I'll play with it some more and hope for an opportunity such as the one Authoress posted this morning for last week's participants.

Michael Wulf said...

I'd second Holly's comments. Although I'll append those by saying it sounds like a great idea and although vague, it's still hooking enough to interest me.

Taking Holly's suggestions would turn it from intrigue into obsession!

Bron said...

I think you need to cut this down a bit, and I would suggest getting rid of the 'Dear John' letter part and starting with the fact that Beth has a chance at romance, but juggling her dreams, etc. etc. I'd also prefer you to state more specifically what Beth's choices have the potential to do. 'Destroy everyone she loves' is vague. Given this isn't fantasy, I'm guessing her choices aren't going to kill anyone, but what will happen if she doesn't make the right choice? Give us a reason to care about which choice she makes and we'll want to read.