Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Logline Critique Round 1 #23

TITLE: Beyond The River
GENRE: Literary Fiction

Brad has just made millions selling the dotcom he started with his domineering business partner, Dean. Brad can’t wait to start a new life, one without Dean and the business. Despite their strained friendship, before parting ways, the two embark on a fly-fishing trip in the wilds of Northern California. Things are going great until Bigfoot shows up. When Dean’s elaborate prank turns tragic, Brad must not only save himself, but also find a way to save Dean.


  1. At 80 words, this is too long for a logline, and I find the last sentence vague. How do things "turn tragic?" In what sense must Brad save himself and Dean? Are they in physical danger or is this more of a psychological story? In literary fiction the stakes are often internal, so if you've got a knife-wielding baddie or something, that needs to be clear.

    I think you can condense the setup quite a bit. For example: "After selling his dotcom business, Brad is eager to move on, but domineering business partner Dean talks him into taking one last fly-fishing trip before they part ways."

    That's 28 words, which gives you another 30 or so to explain how things go bad.

  2. I like Rebecca's suggestion above to tighten this up.

    I think you're trying to be vague to intrigue the reader but you're confusing instead. The sudden pop-up of bigfoot made me look up to see if this was fantasy. Then I'm not sure what to think about the last sentence.

  3. I agree; needs to be shorter! The last two lines is where the meat is; focus on that. I want to know Brad, Bigfoot, prank, and consequence. :)

  4. Way too long, and too much concentration on backstory.

    II=Dean's Prank
    Goal=Save himself + Dean

    I think the conflict may be Brad against the wild. It might also be Brad and Dean's differing ideas about how to proceed. Whatever it is, it needs to be clearer.

    The consequences are also not clear. Will they die? Can Brad save only himself? Do they need to work as a team to survive?

  5. I feel like this spent way too long on setting up the conflict and backstory. Also, the insertion of Bigfoot was jarring without telling us it's a prank right away. Also, what seems like the meat of the story - the MC trying to save himself and his ex-business partner - is vague and a little glossed over. I'd be more specific there. Good luck! This does sound really interesting.

  6. This takes way to long to set up. Try to focus on what makes the relationship difficult/what will add conflict. Also, what is Brad's goal? To go on a trip? To be free from Dean? And how can he save Dean from something that turned tragic? This made me think Dean accidentally ended up dead because of his own prank.

    Finally, you may need to work on the voice if this is LitFic. It sounds a lot more SciFi/paranormal to me.

    Good luck!

  7. Why don't you try again based on the suggestions--that's what I've been doing and I think mine improves with each try and more comments!

  8. Sounds interesting. You need to tighten this up. May I assume that Bigfoot was a prank Dean orchestrated to get even with Dean, or to scare him? I'm not sure. I like the idea that they go on a trip together. Maybe that's where you should begin? And then tell us what happened? Idea: spend less time on backstory.
    Good luck!

  9. This is half again as long as it should be and the bulk is back story. Trim that down and get to the conflict/stakes/consequences.

    I'd also drop Bigfoot from the logline. In the story, it probably works fine, but in this short space, without the necessary foundation or context, it just felt silly, not fitting the tone of the rest.

  10. Perhaps Brad and dean go on a fishing trip because . . . When Dean's elaborate prank (say what the prank is) turns tragic, Brad must save himself and Dean from (what) or (what will happen.)

  11. Hello everyone. Thanks so much for the feedback. Here are two new versions. Do either of these work better?

    Revision 1:
    Brad is eager to free himself of his domineering business partner, Dean. Before they part ways, Dean talks Brad into one last fly-fishing trip. When the elaborate prank Dean orchestrates fails, a man in a Bigfoot costume lies dead at the river’s edge and Brad must find a way to save himself and Dean from the shooter who isn’t in on the joke.

    Revision 2:
    After a prank involving Bigfoot turns tragic, a meek man must save himself and his domineering friend even though he’s not sure he wants to.