Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Logline Critique Round Three #38

TITLE: Burned To Life
GENRE: Contemporary Women's Fiction

Lara Blaine survived her abusive childhood by retreating into her head. It took being beaten down by cervical cancer to make her thrive.


  1. It's a good start, but doesn't tell me much. I'm no expert, but the way I understand log lines is you need an event that starts the action and then a consequence if your character doesn't react (or fails). What are the consequences here? I get that the cancer might be the starting event but then what?

  2. I agree with writeagain. There are no stakes here. The first sentence and the second sentence don't seem to have anything to do with each other. What does her abusive childhood have to do with her cervical cancer? If you can't connect those two ideas, then this probably isn't how you should open your logline.

    Also, what do you mean by thrive? I know that women's fiction is less about the outer action and more about the inner struggle, but I still need stakes. Is this a survival story? Does surviving her abusive childhood give her the strength to fight cervical cancer? Other than her life, because I assume she lives, what does she have to lose?

  3. I agree that this lacks clear stakes and that it needs you more detail in terms of what "thrive" means to Lara and her life.

    I think there is a way to tie the two ideas of the abusive childhood and surviving cancer - instead of thrive you could say something about "it took cancer to get out of her head" and then talk about what she does as this more outgoing person. Does she make new friends? Does she enter into a new relationship? Does she finally confront her family about her past?

  4. This is a great start. Tell me more about what you mean by thrive. What makes your character interesting - what keeps her moving?
    A lot of great possibilities... just need a touch more in this Logline.

  5. This is great if you need a condensed twitter pitch. If you have the luxury of more word count, I would expand on this. I agree that the thrive is the place to show more of. It might be more of the phrasing. for the second line, maybe "When Lara is diagnosed with cancer, she..." and then tell us what she does to thrive.

  6. Agreed. I think it needs that 'when' construction to connect the two ideas since they don't obviously go together. We can makes some educated guesses based on this pitch, but since we don't know the story outside of it, there's nothing we can know for sure. Is there a way you could bring those two events together? Does it start with her childhood, or does it begin later in life and peaks of her childhood come through? What's the event that changes the status, and how does she respond to it?

  7. This sounds like the backstory that comes before the book. If it isn't, you need to show us why getting cancer helps her mend her psychological issues.

    Good luck!

  8. One thing I've learned in the past few months is that the current writing world contains two strong and opposite POVs on what a "logline" is. This is the one I've heard in WF circles: short, punchy, elevator pitch. For that, I think what you have works, generally. For the definition in use for this competition, you have to follow the other definition, which is what the other commenters have based their feedback upon.