Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Logline Critique, Round 2 #4

TITLE:   Fellowship of the Fireflies
GENRE:   Literary Fiction (Magical Realism)

Fifteen-year-old hemophiliac Stephen Hordsley enjoyed a magical life on his grandparent’s farm, the center of their universe after their daughter bled to death giving birth to him. When his grandfather dies and his grandmother grows feeble, he’s sent to live with his industrialist father. Creative talent wins Stephen a chair in the boardroom, but grief, competition from an insecure stepmother, ridicule at school and a spoiled half-brother make life so challenging, he attempts suicide. In a Children’s Hospital, he meets three extraordinary kids who read dream stories that parallel his life and reshape his perspective for the future.

21 comments:

samsevern said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
samsevern said...

I love this, I absolutely LOVE THIS! The story sounds super-intriguing n' dreamy n' VERY DARK, which I adore. The only suggestion I would make is to shorten the middle part of the logline. The opening n' the ending are extremely solid but I lost focus in the mid-section.

GREAT STUFF!! GOOD LUCK AND THANK YOU FOR POSTING THIS!

Jamie Grey said...

I think this sounds very interesting, but you've included a lot of extra info that I'm not sure is necessary in a logline. Can you cut it down to just a sentence or two that gives the overview of the story? I'm not sure how a 15 year old gets a place in the boardroom, or if that's a detail that even needs to be in the pitch. I'd rather just see details about Stephen's personality and struggles and a little more detail on the 3 kids he meets - to me that's the hook of the story.

Good luck!

Shakier Anthem said...

It sounds to me like the real inciting incident here is Stephen's suicide attempt. If that's the case, most of what leads up to it in this logline feels like backstory and could probably be shortened. (Something like, "When the grandparents who raised him are no longer able to care for him, fifteen-year-old hemophiliac Stephen Hordsley is shuffled among family members until his life becomes so challenging that he attempts suicide.") Then take it from there. What happens with the kids in the hospital? And how does his hemophilia play into everything? I get the sense that it may be important, but you don't really get into the stakes here. Interesting concept -- good luck with this!

Holly Bodger said...

I agree that your inciting incident is probably the suicide. If so, you need to start with something like, "Torn from the only family he has ever known, Stephen is forced to live blah blah blah which makes him INCITING INCIDENT." After that, give us some more information about what he wants to get out of the hospital and what he actually accomplishes.

Good luck!
Holly

Joy said...

I agree with Holly and the poster that said that the inciting event is the suicide attempt. The story sounds interesting. Just tighten this up to 1 or 2 sentences. Get right to the point. Great start.

Dren said...

Very interesting story! But I agree - too much back story. You should start with the suicide and the dream stories. That would create a strong and solid hook.

Good luck!

jdspero said...

Anyone else find the first sentence really confusing? I had to read it 3 times before I understood antecedent agreement. Argh. Didn't make me want to read the rest.

Kathleen Basi said...

I'm at a disadvantage coming in a couple hours in, but repetition often clears confusion, so yes: I think you have much more in the opening lines than needs to be there. Very interesting stuff, but it's more setup for the suicide--at least, as it reads here. However, as I think about this, it could also be that the suicide attempt takes places a lot later in the story. Which raises the question: what is the central "point" of the story? Is it the kids who read dream stories? If so, then yes, rewrite this so that it takes center stage and has room for expansion. That's a fun concept, with ltos of potential, but we could use some expansion of the conflict that surrounds it. Right now it kind of reads as the solution to all the problems of his young life.

Rebecca Hart said...

I like the premise here and the story sounds intriguing, but I think this logline just has too much going on that really isnt needed at this point. I think some of the details - especially regarding the grandparents - arent really needed to get the reader hooked and can be edited down quite a bit to help with that.

ksmill7 said...

Sounds like a great start. But I think it's just too wordy getting to the actual meat of your story (your last sentence). I would suggest cutting down on the length of the earlier sentences (like the info on the grandparents) and beefing up the ending.

Sarah Brand said...

In addition to what everyone else said about too much backstory, I'm not sure what "read dream stories" is supposed to mean. (I'm sympathetic since mine also has a speculative element that's difficult to explain in a logline.) I don't think you need to go into huge amounts of detail, though. Would "tell stories that parallel his life" work just as well, perhaps? It removes the confusion, but it's still clear (to me, at least) that something magical is going on.

Barbara said...

It seemed to me the inciting incident was being sent to Dad's. Why wasn't he with Dad to start? Were his parents divorced? WHat does he hope will happen there? WHat actually happens (the bit with the step-mom perhaps) what does he do to change things or make things right? What specific event drives him to suicide?

In the end, you say the kids reshape his future. WHat does he do for himself?

Michael Wulf said...

Loved the title! Seems like a great story is in here by the description.

Like others, this struck me as the backdrop of the story and not the meat.

As Ye Ole Snarkness would have said in her day: X wants Y, but if he doesn't do/stop Z, then all L will break loose.

Carolyn said...

Doesn't sound like there's enough action to hold my interest. Not sure reading stories does it. Also, seems like too little to yield a suicide attempt. Doesn't everyone get ridiculed at school?

I'm sure your story has more happen, maybe put more specific in there and lose the back story?

Tracy said...

Whoa! Way too much for a log line. Would work as a short summary or pitch but that is a whole separate animal.

earth said...

sounds more like a query here. He has a lot of obstacles to overcome here, and so it sounds like an interesting read. But shorten it to a regular logline. Something like - When the MC is forced to leave his beloved grandparents and go live with his father, he has to face (conflicts). He attempts suicide. Then (what saves him)
Best of luck.

Huntress said...

Try printing your logline then circling vital information such as name, age. Cut or edit sections that give words that aren’t necessary, such as exactly how his mother died. Cut your word count down to 50. Then look at it again, circle the words crucial to the story and cut to 25 to 30 words. Look for words that do not add to the story.

Fifteen-year-old Stephen Hordsley enjoyed a magical life with his grandparents after his mother died giving birth to him. But after he loses that idyllic life, and is forced to live with his father, grief and a spoiled half-brother cause him to attempt suicide. In the hospital, he meets three kids to dream stories and …

French Lady said...

This sounds very interesting. Although well-written, it is a bit too long. Maybe it is good for a query?

Some key words that I think you might want to keep in a shorter version are: hemophiliac, magical,and suicide.

Good luck!

Bron said...

This is too long for a logline, which should be a few sentences long at best. All you need in a logline is the main conflict in the story, whereas you seem to have included a lot of background here. It seems like the main thrust of the story starts after Stephen tries to commit suicide and ends up in hospital. You could say something like, 'After losing his mother and grandparents and being sent to live with his industrialist father, 15-year-old haemophiliac Stephen Hordsley attempts suicide.' Then go on to talk about the kids he meets in hospital. I would also be more specific than simply saying they reshape his perspective on the future. In order to be a compelling story, Stephen must take some action. After bringing in the children, I would go to mention what Stephen actually does.

Whatever you do, keep the detail that he is a haemophiliac in there somewhere. I think this is the kind of detail that serves to make your story unique.

Joan Strading said...

Needs shortening and some clarification (which others have already suggested). I like the story going on here though.