Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Logline Critique Round One Today!

Please join in the critique!  Let the authors know what's working and what's not working in their loglines.  And, yes, some of these are NOT loglines, so feel free to point that out, too.

As always, tact with honesty.

Have fun!  Lots of good ideas here.


  1. Hi there!

    I'm entry #12 and having just re-read it, I'm wincing and realizing just how horrid it is. I was literally in a hospital bed as I sent it in, and obviously not thinking clearly. I would love to pull my entry and give a chance to one of the alternates. Thanks so much for the opportunity, but I don't think me logline is ready for critique.

  2. Can you get all the entries on one page so we don't have to scroll? Thanks!

  3. Lianne, if you click the home page you will see all the entries on the screen, then the comment box should open in a new window. That's what I do :)

  4. Hm actually this time it's only showing about 6 entries per page. Still, that's preferable than opening each entry individually.

  5. Authoress, on the topic of what does & doesn't constitute a logline: I'm involved with this community and with a community of women's fiction writers who define logline verrrrry differently--more like a hook/elevator pitch, and less than 25 words. I would really love for you or Holly or someone in the know to give us a rundown of the various terms used and how people view them differently.

  6. Yipes. After going over this, I realize I'm not exactly sure what a proper "logline" is either.

  7. This post from a previous MSSV logline critique might help with definitions: click. The fact that many of these submissions don't fit with Authoress & Holly's definition of a logline does make things a bit confusing :)

  8. Thanks for sharing the link, Alisa! Yes, many of these entries are NOT loglines (and I posted 2 links to logline posts, so no excuse, right??).

    This is how we learn. Next round, I'm trimming the word count way down to force people to comply. (Not to sound Borg or anything...)

  9. Hi

    My entry is in this but I didn't get an email? Not complaining, more wondering if I need to so something .

  10. Kathleen, much like summary or query, many people define logline in different ways. For examples, movies tend to give REALLY short loglines that capture only the concept or goal or consequences and not all three.

    For the purposes of this contest, the logline is your chance to hook an agent's interest in your story. If you can do that in less than 25 words, great, but I generally find that people need 2-3 sentences to really capture what's special about their story.

    Remember, agents see A LOT of stories that sound the same so while you may be able to summarize your story with something like, "Not all blood is thicker than water", this won't tell the agent anything about your story.


  11. I think crafting loglines is a good exercise for writers--whether as part of working on a query or to help keep the focus when outlining or actually writing a novel--so it's great to have resources like this.

    Though I haven't joined in before, I've visited this blog several times in the last couple of years (while feverishly researching everything I can find about agents and queries!) and I'd like to say thank you for all the hard work you do, especially in putting together all these critiques and contests that help so many people!

    I couldn't help but notice, however, that just as you said, nearly half of these logline entries are not loglines at all. Although I think your instructions were really quite clear--after all, you did say a logline should be one or two sentences, and that shorter is better!--I'm wondering if the 100 word limit is confusing some folks.

    I get the impression that some of the writers here were thinking that they were supposed to use most of that 100 word allotment. Now I see that you mentioned trimming the word count for the next round, and from what I've seen it looks like that would probably be a good idea.

    I just stumbled on an article called 'How to Write a Hook Line or Logline' by Michelle McLean. (It's on a site called 'Archetype', and I'm not sure how to put a link in here--sorry about that!) As examples, she uses loglines that summarize popular films. When I calculated the average word count of these examples, it came out to 28 words! (And the longest was 40 words.)

    If those examples are truly representative of what we should be shooting for in a logline, (and please correct me if I'm wrong), then I'd say that one way to describe a logline might be to say it's like a TV guide listing with just a few details fleshed out, but the same overall structure--and nearly always one sentence.

    Then perhaps it might help to decrease the word count limit down to 50 words--or even less? In her post above, Kathleen mentions 25 words as the limit she's used to for loglines, but I'd guess that 35 or 40 would be pretty reasonable too, since it would still make it clear that this is very different from a query.

    And thanks again, Authoress, for all the time you put in to help your fellow writers! :)

  12. Thank you so much for the clarification, Holly - I hadn't seen your post when I started mine (I got interrupted in the middle by some pesky work stuff!).

    I don't know if you'd find the sample loglines in Ms. McLean's article too sparse, but as I understand it, you're saying that up to three sentences is okay, but that most importantly you do like to see all three elements - concept, goal, and consequences - incorporated in the logline. Is that a fair summary?

  13. L.C., I honestly would rather not say "a logline MUST be X words or Y sentences long" because it depends. I've seen great ones that were 1 line and I've seen great ones that were 3 or 4. You need to make is as long as it takes to get the reader engaged in the character's journey and that usually requires defining the journey (goal + motivation) and showing why it is going to be an interesting ride (obstacles + consequences). These things serve 2 purposes:

    1) to make the reader care enough to want to read the actual book, and
    2) to show readers (and especially, agents) why your story is different than everyone else's (this is where concept often comes in).

  14. Thanks, Holly. I think breaking it down like that is quite helpful. Hopefully this will clear up the confusion for everyone here who's been feeling puzzled about this.

    I imagine that Authoress will still want to reduce the word limit for loglines just enough to discourage folks from submitting query-type entries with multiple paragraphs, while not being too restrictive . . .