Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Logline Critique Round One #39


More than merely a collection of patient stories, my memoir of nursing provides a look into the evolution of women since the '70's. I entered a traditional women's career at a time of significant change, both in nursing and in the role of women in general. My career has taken me from New York and Hawaii to Australia where doing battle with funnel web spiders was often more challenging than any shift in Casualty.


  1. I'm not really familiar with the appropriate way to write a logline for a memoir, but to me, this feels like it needs a lot more punch. Also, I'm not exactly sure what funnel spiders are, so this is not striking the fear into me that I think you're intending. This might not be true to your story, but how about something more like this?

    An exploration of the evolution and challenges of women through a nurse's eyes from the heyday of women's liberation in the 70's to today. Being with women at their most vulnerable time, this is more than a collection of stories, it's a unique journey that spans the globe and crosses through time.

  2. I'm not sure how a syopsis for a memoir should be written either but I don't think starting out by critizing patient stories, or any story, as "mere" is a way to go. After all, your memoir is a story - and you also reference a particular one - funnel spiders and Casualty. I do know what funnel spiders are but do not know what Casualty is. An ER term?

    I like the specific reverance to time, the 1970's - and the geographical range.

  3. I've never seen a logline for a non-fiction piece before, but this reads more like part of a query letter than a couple of punchy sentences to get me interested in the story. I would trim 'more than merely a collection of patient stories' from the start. You're also using the word 'career' twice very close to each other, which does stand out in a piece of writing this short.

  4. Wrong order. Don't start by telling us how bad it isn't. Exciting third sentence first, second sentence second, first sentence third - maybe. If you sell us the excitement first, you don't need to apologize for anything!

  5. I'd suggest fine-tuning Rachel's version. It shows us the excitement, compassion and historical elements your story contains. Your memoir sounds like an interesting story-- you have obviously led a truly interesting life-- so brag about it, girlfriend!

    My only request is that you never, ever show me a picture of a funnel spider. I have no idea what one is, but I refuse to google him, because the name alone is creeping me out!

  6. It sounds like this is narrative non-fiction (unless your main character is talking here?) If so, you still need to present an over-arching plot for your story. What lesson(s) are you trying to teach through your experiences?

    Good luck!

  7. I'm not clear what the focus of your memoir will be - the patients you encountered, the places you traveled, or the evolution of your job as a nurse.

  8. You definitely need to tighten this up a lot and zoom in on the main focus of the book. Although I haven't looked at many loglines for nonfiction either, my guess is that this shouldn't be that different from a logline for fiction, and as Holly said, it should still convey a sense of the over-arching story that ties the different incidents together.

    The only similar example I can think of just now would be something like James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small, and based on that book's blurb on Amazon, I'd imagine that a logline would be something like: "A young veterinarian discovers that practicing in rural Yorkshire is a far cry from vet school, and must learn to be flexible and open-minded to appreciate the never-ending variety of the challenges he faces every day."

    I know that's a pretty lousy attempt, but the point is that although the book is essentially a collection of recollected experiences that are rather like individual short stories, the logline would focus on the overall conflict in the situation and on the narrator's personal and professional growth, since those elements are what ties all of those experiences together.

    Hope that helps. :)