Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Logline Critique Round Two #30

TITLE: Thingbreaker
GENRE: Magicpunk

Aisling's search for family reunites her with a long-lost cousin and outs her as Thingbreaker – last of the gods and potential precipitator of the apocalypse. Now the Secret Service wants her to stop a magic-hungry machine, the machine wants her powers, and the gods want to destroy her before she ends the world.


  1. I feel ungrounded by this. I think it's because i don't know why she's searching for her family. Is she an orphan? Was she adopted? I don't know. And i don't know that you need the detail that she finds her cousin, since they're not mentioned again.

    But i'm definitely down with a magic-hungry machine!

  2. Maybe loglines don't lend themselves to novels that require mucho world-building. But there is not enough here for me to grasp. I really don't know what is happening.

  3. Questions: If she is the last of the gods, then how are there other gods who want to destroy her? The Secret Service, as in, the guys who protect the President of the United States?

  4. A lot going on here. I realize you're trying to world build, but hinting would serve you much better. What I take away is that she's an orphaned (I'm guessing) god, but is threatened by both machine and common man. This leads me to believe she's a weak god and it lessens the pull of the story for me. And how is she the last of the gods when there are other gods hunting her? I'm just practicing my log line skills, but here's another angle for you (if you want it):
    An orphan, Aisling searches out long-lost family to fantastically discover she is blessed with the power of the gods. When the Secret Service approaches her to battle a dangerous, magic-hungry machine she realizes doing so may be the harbinger to a global apocalypse.

  5. First: Magicpunk--I like it. Never a shortage of new "punk" categories!

    I think the last line could be rephrased to focus more on Aisling and what choices she needs to make. The Secret Service is after her because [x] and she must do [x] or else [x]. What is her goal, what motivates her, and what conflict is in her way? It just needs to be spelled out more clearly. But sounds cool!

  6. I agree with Sarah that I feel too ungrounded in this logline to realy go along for the ride.

    I know it's tough in a logline, but it really helps if we know just enough about the protag to care. Blake Snyder has a good chapter about loglines (though he goes for pretty long loglines) in Save the Cat Strikes Back.

    Try something like "When Aisling (sympathetic trait/flaw/who is she goes here) discovers she inherited an ancient power that could destroy the world, the secret service decide won't stop hounding her to join up and put her power to use against a magical monster (give us some details, like is this a baby eating magical monster? Is it La Chupacabra?) bent on destroying the (touch of world building here, USA, or the United Republic of Northern states, or whatever goes here)."

    I'd leave out the gods unless you can use them to really ratchet up the stakes, otherwise, they're really confusing.

  7. Well, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say this one totally worked for me. It gives me an intriguing main character and a whole lot of conflict. I especially like the way the final sentence is worded. it just has a really nice rhythm to it.

    Best of luck with it!

  8. Your main character is completely passive here. You've told us what everyone else wants her to do but not what SHE wants. These things should be in conflict with her goal.

    Good luck!

  9. Thanks for all the feedback, folks. It's much appreciated.

    Aisling's goal is survival. Back to the drawing board to make that clear. (Along with why she's searching for her family and what it means to be the "last" god.)

  10. I sympathize with the challenge of working with what I call 'universal' goals--that is, the things almost everyone wants, like staying alive or figuring out where you belong. Surely queries and loglines are a lot easier to construct when the goal is one specific act, like saving the princess or slaying a dragon!

    Perhaps it's just me, but when I got to the second sentence I wondered where in the world the Secret Service came from--it didn't seem to fit; I guess it really wasn't what I was expecting after someone's just discovered they're the last of the gods.

    Perhaps you could include something brief that makes the setting clear at the beginning? Unless it's a different Secret Service (in which case you'd probably want to call it something else), I assume this would also qualify as Urban Fantasy, and that it starts in the modern world?

    I haven't read the Percy Jackson books, but from what I know of them I'm guessing this is along those lines, yet I'm just not getting much sense of the setting here.

    Also, I'm not sure the cousin belongs in here; it looks like all you need to include is the fact that searching for her family leads her to discover that she's this special god.

  11. L.C. McGehee: Actually, it's a secondary world with a kind of Edwardian-esque society. The cousin is a member of the Secret Service (referred to in the story as The Black Hats) and he's the one pushing Aisling to help him stop the magic-eating machine.

    Quite frankly, I had a longer more detailed logline but was told in earlier critique (elsewhere) that it was too long and detailed. I can see that I've cut it back too far for the individual elements to be clear. Which is a very useful thing to know and I appreciate everyone's comments in that regard.